By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: The tenure of three top scientists closely associated with various ongoing aeronautical projects, including India's Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) programme have been extended beyond their service. Military sources confirmed to Express that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) gave the assent for the extension the services of two scientists late on Friday night, with another receiving the go ahead earlier.
P S Subramanyam, Director, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Dr K Tamilmani, Director-General (Aero), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Shyam Chetty, Director, National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) are all operating out of Bangalore. The decision to extend the services of these three scientists were taken following the recommendations made by their respective organisational heads. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and the Appointments Committee Of Cabinet had to act swiftly as the tenure of Dr Tamil Mani and Shyam Chetty were to end on Saturday (31 May).
Sources said the PMO was in favour of the continuity of national projects and acted favourably upon the recommendations. "The PMO was of the opinion that ongoing defence projects should not be affected by the sudden exit of senior scientists. The completion of projects have been given a new thrust with daily monitoring mechanism in place. A total of 58 filed were pending with DoPT for PMO's nod," a Ministry of Defence (MoD) official said on condition of anonymity.
The decision gives Subramanyam, now 64 years old, another year in office while Dr Tamilmani, now 62 , gets another two years and 60-year-old Shyam gets two more years in service. All the three scientists are currently engaged in the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of Tejas, scheduled to be completed next year. "It was widely felt at this point of time a change at the helm of affairs would have affected the progress of Tejas, which has finally reached the last lap before getting inducted. This worked in favour of Subramanyam, who is associated with the project from 1986 onwards," a DRDO official said.
With Tejas being a technology-driven programme, the DRDO was backing the case of Dr Tamilmani to tackle the certification challenges of the aircraft. "Dr Tamilmani's expertise is not only critical for Tejas, but also for some of the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and engine projects," the official said.
For Shyam Chetty, who reports to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the extension came in mainly due to his involvement with the National Civil Aircraft (NCA) programme. "In addition to Tejas FOC, Shyam has to lead the NAL team for the NCA project aimed at better regional connectivity. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has been given the mantle to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for undertaking the design, development, manufacture of 70 to 100 seater aircraft. NAL will play a critical role here," the official said.
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