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Govt scouting for pvt partners for plane project

Government today said it was scouting private partners to fulfil its ambitious plans to design and develop an indigenous medium-range civilian transport aircraft.



New Delhi: Government today said it was
scouting private partners to fulfil its ambitious plans to
design and develop an indigenous medium-range civilian
transport aircraft.

"We are looking for private partners for the ambitious
billion-dollar project to develop a medium-range civilian
transport aircraft," Science and Technology Minister
Prithviraj Chavan told reporters on the sidelines of the 2nd
Global Industrial R&D Conclave here.

He said the government had already set up a 15-member
high-power committee headed by former Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) chief G Madhavan Nair to prepare a
feasibility report on development of the 80-100 seater
aircraft.

The National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), a Council of
Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) institute, has been
tasked to lead the national effort to develop the civilian
aircraft.

There have been a couple of attempts to develop a
regional transport aircraft earlier, but officials claim that
this time round the project has been taken up on mission mode.

"The Nair-led committee has been asked to submit its
report within a year and a decision would follow soon after,"
Chavan said.

The government has recognised the need for such an
indigenous civilian aircraft with 100 seater capacity for
passenger service or freight service of equivalent capacity,
Nair had said after the first meeting of the core members of
the committee in Bangalore on May 8.

The full-fledged committee will meet on May 27 to work
out the modalities, including the type of aircraft to be
developed, the infrastructure required and the development
cycle from design to manufacturing the aircraft in large
numbers in partnership with the industry.

The NAL will be the main agency to implement the project
in association with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL),
Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO). The design centre for the regional civilian aircraft
project will be set up in Bangalore under the supervision of
NAL and private partners will be involved right from the
design stage, CSIR Director General Samir Kumar Brahmachari
had said.

NAL has demonstrated design and development capabilities
with the production of Hansa trainer aircraft and prototype
versions of 14-seater Saras aircraft for military and civil
purposes.

The other members of the panel include Cabinet Secretary,
former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India
(SEBI) M Damodaran, Director of the Indian Institute of
Management, Kolkata, Shekhar Chaudhuri, and industrialist Arun
Firodia, apart from senior officials of various Government
departments and agencies.

The Director General of Defence and Development
Organisation (DRDO), Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation,
Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, and
Chairman, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, have been included in
the panel.

Present ISRO Chairman, K Radhakrishnan, aerospace expert
Roddam Narasimha, and NAL Director A R Upadhya, are also
members.

Pointing out that the CSIR been engaged in promoting the
development of a regional transport aircraft for the past four
years, Brahmachari said that the formation of the high powered
panel marked a paradigm shift. "It is no more a baby of CSIR
alone. It has now become a national endeavour," he said.

Brahmachari said the CSIR would try to get students of
aerospace science and technology in different institutions
involved in the project.

The CSIR`s Open Source Drug Discovery project, which is
aimed at developing drugs for Tuberculosis had also involved
students.

PTI

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