Former Director, CSIR- Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee

Areas of Interest:

Disaster Mitigation , Geotechnical and Earthquake Engineering , Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Engineering, Disaster Education.


Disaster Mitigation and Management with particular reference to Landslides and Earthquakes; Disaster Education

Consultancy Areas:

Planning , Design and Construction of Buildings , Roads and Development Infrastructure in Disaster Prone Areas.


Sector Associated With:


Sectors Interested to Offer Service:

Educational / Academic institutions, Industry (Private), Industry (PSUs), R&D Organizations, Government (including funding agencies)

Major Professional Contributions:

Major Contributions to the Capacity Building in the area of Disaster Mitigation at the National Level
Establishment of State-of-the-art Geotechnical Laboratory at CSIR-CBRI
Convinced of the fact that paradigm shift to the culture of disaster prevention and mitigation from the age-old relief centric approach cannot be achieved without national spotlight on Science, Technology and Innovation, nominee undertook the task of establishing state-of-the-art laboratories at every possible opportunity. The state-of-the-art laboratory conceived and built under his leadership at the Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee in late 1970s was the first of its kind in India at that time. It gave to the country the first Geotechnical Digital System for simulated Stress-path geotechnical testing. The other firsts included- laser particle analyser for fundamental studies on particle breakdown due to large mass movements; Geo-radar for subsurface mapping to elucidate slide boundaries, vibrating wire piezometers for establishing phreatic profiles, acoustic emission monitoring of problematic slopes for early warning and Pile Drive Analyser for quality assessment of piling.
It was because of the state-of-the-art in-house capacity that CBRI , besides preparing a breed of trained scientists, could introduce the culture of geotechnical instrumentation and sound engineering practices in carrying out scientific studies on disasters due to earthquakes, landslides and floods, in the Eastern, Central and Western Himalayas.
Establishment of Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management at Anna University
Nominee was invited by the Anna University to establish in the campus a Centre on Disaster Mitigation and Management in 2001. During the very first year, the Centre trained its faculty and delivered (1) India's first Landslide Atlas published by BMPTC for the Ministry of Urban Development of the Government of India and (2) National Guidelines on Seismic Microzonation in India under the aegis of INAE and the Department of Science and Technology.

Establishment of Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management at the VIT University Vellore
VIT University's Centre on Disaster Mitigation and Management was established by the nominee in 2005 at the invitation of its Chancellor. A state-of-the-art Centre laced with latest equipment was raised within a time frame of six months and it got instant visibility because of the gracious presence of the Home Minister of the Government of India, the Vice Chairman of NDMA, the Secretary, Border Management and many of the top domain experts on the day it was dedicated to the nation.
As the Founder Chairman of the Centre at Vellore during 2005-7, the nominee was successful in pro-actively linking the operation of CDMM with the National Disaster Management Authority and the National Institute of Disaster Management. The nominee was invited by NDMA on the core committees, which delivered National Guidelines on Earthquakes, released in 2007 , and National Guidelines on Landslides released in 2009.

The nominee led a joint team of CDMM and the Centre of Science for Non-aligned Countries to organize an International Roundtable meeting giving fillip to international cooperation and publication of a Book by the NAM Centre on Lessons from Disasters. Within two years , CDMM produced (1) thematic films on Disasters due to Earthquakes , Floods , Landslides and Lightening to enrich training programmes and spread public awareness (2) Self-Certification Test CD ROMs on different types of disasters (3) Manual for Integrity Evaluation of distressed buildings (4) A model Emergency Safety Plan for Schools and (5) Multi-level programme for Training of Trainers.

Established the first State-of-the-art Laboratory in SriLanka for Disaster related studies
The nominee, who led a five year duration(1990-95) , $ 3 million project for the United Nations –Habitat in the aftermath of a series of landslide disasters in SriLanka, is highly acknowledged for his many pioneering contributions which included (1) Preparing the first draft of Srilanka's disaster management plan (2) Establishment of the first fully fledged Landslide Studies and Services Division at the National Building Research Organization which has moved from strength to strength (3) Internationally training the human resource at the cutting edge of S & T (4) nearly 5000 sq km of large scale hazard mapping of the Central Highlands and linking these with the planning process. This effort is being regarded as the bedrock of Disaster Risk Reduction initiative in SriLanka.

Contribution towards establishing best practices in Disaster Mitigation.
A century old landslide was permanently fixed
The nominee is illustrated by creating full scale examples that by recourse to modern Science, Technology and Innovation, lasting solutions could be found to fix some of the age-old, intractable problems. A hundred year old landslide at Watawala in SriLanka was a nightmare every monsoon season for decades on end. As the leader of a United Nations team of experts during (1990-1995), the devastating landslide was successfully fixed through a rigorous scientific process of diagnosis. Departing from the conventional engineering practice of reinforcing the slopes and building massive support structures, designs proposed by the nominee relied wholly on best of technologies for improving subsurface drainage. For the first time ever the technology of directional drilling for draining problematic Watawala slopes was deployed to bring down the phreatic pressures. The solution completely relieved Srilankan of the problem, 25 years have elapsed since the treatment and the Watawala slide is histo ry now.
A novel, environment friendly, innovative technology was developed and successfully utilized for the first time in India to ensure road safety.
The above advance-level institutional capacity gave an added impulse to the multi-disciplinary approach in problem solving. One of the outstanding examples is controlling of the 70 year old Kaliasaur landslide in Uttarakhand for 15 years using an indigenous developed innovative anchored drum diaphragm walling technology for landslide control. It made use of huge volumes of slope waste and the heaps of empty bitumen drums discarded by road construction

Contributed substantially in introducing Innovation and sound engineering practices in disaster prone area

Professional Experience:

Former Positions Held

  • Programme Director, UN-HABITAT (2001-2003)
  • Chairman, Centre for Disaster Mitigation & Management, Anna University (2001-3)
  • Head, International Science & Technology Affairs Directorate, CSIR (1995-2001)
  • Chief Technical Advisor, Natural Disasters, UNDP, Colombo ( 1990-5)
  • Director, Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee (1986-1990)


Science, Technology , Innovation , Natural and Man made Disasters , Building , Housing and Infrastructure, Research and Development
Disaster Mitigation, Disaster Management, Disaster Policy , Disaster Education.


Contact Information


Dr R.K.Bhandari
302 Kamadgiri Tower, Kaushambi, Ghaziabad ( UP) PIN 201010
Phone : +919810345123

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



  • 1962 : Bachelor of Engineering ( Civil Engineering ), University of Rajasthan
  • 1964: Master of Technology ( Soil Mechanics), IIT Bombay
  • 1970: D.I.C and Ph.D in Soil Mechanics from Imperial College , London


Awards and Major Professional Recognitions

      Awards and Honours:

  • Recipient of Varnes Medal - the highest award for professional excellence in landslide research. The nominee is the first Indian so far to receive this medal of the International Consortium of Landslides of 51 member institutions from 32 countries on 22 November 2012 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
  • Recipient of the Science Research Scholarship of the Royal Commission of UK for the Exhibition of 1851, 1967-71.
  • Recipient of the Bhasin Foundation Award for Science and Technology 1988 for his outstanding contribution in Disaster Mitigation.
  • Recipient of Life Time Achievement Award of the Quantum Global Campus, Uttarakhand on 16 April 2016
  • Jaikrishna Prize of the Institution of Engineers (India), 1992, for professional paper on Reservoir Induced Seismicity.( shared with Fellow Researcher)
  • Disaster Prevention Award of Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee in 2005
  • Recipient of the prestigious Kueckelmann Award of the Indian Geotechnical Society 1998-99.
  • Recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus award of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, 2001, for contribution in Disaster Mitigation.
  • Distinguished Engineers Award of the Institution of Engineers (India) .
  • Recipient of AIMIL Gold Medal for best paper entitled "Instrumentation during Underpinning of a Tank Foundation" submitted to IBS (shared with the project team), December 1979
  • Prize from the Industrial Minerals & Chemical Company for the Paper "Indian Bentonites and their use in Diaphragm Walling and Piling , December 1980 ( shared with the research team)
  • Distinguished Rotarian Award of the Rotary International Certificates of Merit from the Institution of Engineers, awarded twice, 1975-76 & 1979-80.
  • Awarded Honorary Fellowship of Indian Science Writers Association 2012.
  • Recognition accorded by International professional bodies
  • Visiting Professor at Wollongong University, Australia ( 14 July-20 Nov 1980): Examined two Ph.D. Theses.
  • Academic visitor to the Technical University Graz, Austria ( June 1997) on the invitation of Legendary Professor Christian Vedor, inventor of diaphragm walling process.
  • Plaque of Honour from the Japanese Society of Soil Mechanics (1987) awarded after a keynote presentation at the 8th Asian Regional Conference, July 1987.
  • Plaque of Honour from the South East Asian Geotechnical Society presented at its 20th Anniversary Celebration, December 1987
  • Elected Vice President, International Council of Building Research Studies & Documentation (CIB) 1989-1992 : Member , CIB Board 1986-1989
  • Chairman of the CIB-Rilem Commission (Asia) on Earth Buildings. National Standing Committee on Application of Plastics in Buildings (1987-1989)
  • Member Secretary of the International Committee on Landslides of the International Society of Soil Mechanics & Foundation Engineering (Four consecutive terms: 1981-1997)
  • Represented India on the Soil Sampling Committee of the International Society of Soil Mechanics & Foundation Engineering (1977-1981)
  • Member of International Commission of Landslides (1985-1987).
  • Member UNESCO party to Alma Ata USSR in October 1981 on "Protection of Lithosphere as a component of Environment
  • Member Advisory committee of the Asia Disaster Prevention Centre, Bangkok
  • Member ,Working Group G2 of the Permanent International Association of Road Congress (PIARC) on "Natural Disaster Reduction ( 1990-1995)
  • Coordinator Commonwealth knowledge network on natural disasters
  • Represented India at the meeting of the Director of English Speaking Building Research Organisations (DESBRO), and at the CIB Board Meeting, Garston, UK, 15-16 June 1989

Link to Website

INAE Section Affiliated I: Civil Engineering

Year of Election to Fellowship: 1988

Year of Birth: 10 February 1941