50 years after it was formed, PCMC gets first woman executive engineer: ‘Did not hesitate to take up challenges in this tough job’


CLOSE TO 50 years after it was formed, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has finally appointed a female executive engineer, 51-year-old Prerna Pradeep Shinkar, who has served for 25 years in the civic body.

“I have reason to feel happy and proud as I am the first woman executive engineer of the Pimpri-Chinchwad civic body…” Prerna Shinkar told The Indian Express on Sunday.

The PCMC has over 300 engineers holding different designations, of which only 15 to 20 are women, officials said.

After completing her civil engineering from SSVP College in Dhule, she worked with Pune’s Wadia college for a couple of years and then joined the PCMC as junior engineer in 1996. Nearly 16 years later, she was promoted as deputy engineer and, last week, she bagged the coveted post of executive engineer, which is considered a massive achievement in civic circles. The job is known to be strenuous and demanding.

Recounting her journey with the PCMC, Shinkar said she had worked in different departments like water supply and drainage. “During my tenure, I was instrumental in setting up two sewage treatment plants and a water treatment plant. Right from construction of the plants, their design, getting everything done as per plan till the successful commissioning of the projects, I managed all of this through hard work and support from colleagues,” she said.

Getting the permission of the defence ministry for a road work in Dighi was another big achievement for her. During her career so far, she has twice been honoured as a “meritorious employee” of the civic body. “First time, I received one additional increment and, the second time, I got double increment for oustanding work,” she said.

Shinkar said for her, working with the civic body was a challenge and she had accepted it with all her might. “Civil engineering is generally considered a strictly no-no field for women as it involves slogging in the heat and dust where there is no time limit. But I accepted the challenge with full support from my husband, Pradeep Shinkar, and family. He understood the demands of the job as he is a civil engineer too,” she said, adding that they both were classmates at SSVP College in Dhule.

Shinkar said it was not easy for women to work in the blazing sun and late into night. “This field (civil engineering) requires a lot of energy and grit. It is a challenging field. It is not a desk job, you have to go right into the field to accomplish the job,” she said, adding that female engineers were given desk jobs such as technical sanctions and carrying out correspondence.

“But I got an opportunity to work directly in the field and did not hesitate to take up the challenges of this tough job,” she added.

From 1996 to 2021, Shinkar got the opportunity to work and interact with different municipal commissioners. “All were supportive, but I shared a good rapport with Shrikar Pradeshi and Rajiv Jadhav,” she said.

She added, “However, Prahlad Chaudhary, who was the boss of my civic department, inspired me and made me work on-site rather than on the desk.”

About the working atmosphere in the PCMC, Shinkar said, “It has been smooth ride in the PCMC. The colleagues and bosses are supportive and motivate juniors.”

Pravin Ladkat, PCMC executive engineer, said, “Prerna Shinkar has worked under me. She is a hard working and knowledgeable colleague. She believes in carrying out an in-depth study of a project before taking it to its logical conclusion.”

Asked why a woman had made it to the top job so late, Ladkat said, “I think there were too many male engineers who joined before Shinkar. Some joined in the early 1980s and 1990s. She joined in 1996. So seniority wise, her turn came now.”

Her next big promotion is due in 2024, where she might make it as joint city engineer. “My current promotion took place due to municipal commissioner Rajesh Patil’s decision. He acknowledged my sincerity and hard work. I will continue to work in the same vein to achieve more,” she added.

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