BANGALORE: Samir K Brahmachari, Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), defended his decision to adopt “a careful approach” towards India’s inspiring National Civil Aircraft Development (NCAD) project.
Speaking to Express over the phone from Delhi, Brahmachari denied that he or his team was “deliberately creating turbulence” along the flightpath of the NCAD, as being accused by some of the High-Power Committee (HPC) members.
“Why should there be any hurry? We are dealing with massive government funds, and it has to be dealt through a careful approach. There are lots of work to be done. Only a feasibility study is in place and that was part of the 11th Plan. Now, in the 12th Plan we will initiate the rest. It is not correct to say that we have stopped the project,” Brahmachari said.
Asked why some of the HPC members are sensing a “deliberate delay”, the CSIR chief said: “It is not a delay. When we do funding for such a huge project, we will be slow and cautious. Madhavan Nair’s job as the HPC head was over in November 2011 and we thanked him for all that he has done through a letter. A new committee has taken over now as we have now entered the execution stage.”
Stating that it was important for Indian industries to come forward and propel the NCAD, Brahmacahari said the Kelkar and Roddam Committees would submit their reports in the next two months. “If the industry participation is not there, this project won’t take off. Hence we are working on the joint venture template,” he said.
To a query why the draft Cabinet note of the HPC was not considered, Brahmachari said: “The format was based on an old model and it was rejected outright by the Planning Commission. This note was an extra job being done by the HPC and it was never part of their terms of reference. I know how to move Cabinet notes and the new committee will make one and move it at an appropriate time.”
Asked specifically whether he was playing the villain in a script for a blockbuster science fiction ‘War of Brains,’ the CSIR boss said: “Arey baba, no politics or deliberate delays. The 12th Plan Budget is not finalised. Everything will be clear after that.”
When Express told Brahmachari that the Prime Minister himself had seen the HPC report and was probably “keen to go ahead”, Brahmachari said: “When did we stop. We are going ahead. There’s no controversy.”
Insiders at the Bangalore-based National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a premier CSIR lab, ducked Express queries, saying they had been officially asked to “shut their mouths” and not to speak on the project.