Govt scuttled Nair's aircraft plans

Govt scuttled Nair's aircraft plans

Isro row: Not long a blue-eyed boy, he is now persona non grata

The disgraced former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) G Madhavan Nair aspired to play a prominent role in the development of an indigenous 70-seater aircraft, but the government has nipped his aspirations in the bud.

Six months after his retirement, Nair was drafted into a high-powered government committee in May 2010 to make a feasibility study on the ambitious 70-seater Regional Transport Aircraft to be built at a cost of Rs 7,555 crore. He was given a time-frame of one year.

As his term was coming to the close, the former Isro boss was exerting influence and pulling the strings, not only to continue with the RTA project, but also to retain some of his favourite scientists in the programme, reliable sources told Deccan Herald.

But the Planning Commission was not in favour of some of Nair’s proposals and objected to the structure of the National Civil Aircraft Development authority suggested by him. By then, the details of his misdeeds in the Antrix–Devas deal become known to the top-brass in the government, which did not favour continuing with Nair.

Consequently, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CISR) was asked to create two separate panels – one for the creation of a joint venture and another for technological aspects.

The first panel is headed by Vijay Kelkar, former finance secretary and the second one by Roddam Narsimha, former director of National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore who was incidentally a part of the high–powered government panel that probed the Antrix–Devas agreement. CSIR created the two committees in November and Nair was not given a place in either of them. Within three months both panels are to submit their reports on the basis of which a cabinet note would be made.

Nair is currently the chairman of the governing council of the Indian Institute of Technology, Patna, one of the seven new IITs being set up by the union human resource development ministry.

Sources said the HRD ministry was in the process of removing Nair from IIT chairmanship following the official order, which stated that Nair and three of his Isro colleagues could not be re-employed anywhere in the government, including official committees.

Chandy bats for Isro ex-chief

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said the state would continue to use the services of former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair who has been barred from holding government positions by the Union Government on Wednesday, reports DHNS from Thiruvananthapuram.

Chandy however added that the circular issued by the Centre regarding the ban on Nair, should be viewed as a positive step.

Chandy noted that state needs the services of Nair and the government hopes that Kerala would continue to get it. Kerala has benefitted from Nair’s services, he added.

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