The employees of the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), which is regarded as one of the most distinguished labs of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), are up in arms against what they have called arbitrary transfer of a scientist who last year was named the “best lab scientist of DRDO”.
According to ADE officials, the said scientist, who has been working with the DRDO for 30 years, is being victimised for not agreeing with his seniors who wanted materials for a project to be procured from a particular company, despite the said company not matching the requirements of the project.
On 16 January 2018, on the ground of “public interest”, A.P.V.S. Prasad, “scientist-G”, who was made the project director of the coveted RUSTOM-II UAV programme of the DRDO in 2015, was moved out of the ADE to another DRDO lab in Bangalore without any notice and without taking the permission from his director.
However, official sources said that Prasad was being pressurised to give his permission to procure products for the UAV programme from a company whose product did not match the requirements of the project and when he did not relent, he was transferred.
Prasad has been credited with making sure that the much delayed India’s UAV programme got the needed push. Within two years of Prasad taking over the project, RUSTOM-II completed its maiden flight, earning him the best DRDO scientist award in 2017. An angry employees’ union of the ADE has now approached Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to intervene in the matter. Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, S. Narayanappa, who is president of the ADE civilian employees’ union, said that discriminatory transfers like this affect the morale of the scientists.
“I have been trying to speak to Dr S. Christopher (chairman of DRDO) on this issue but he is not taking my calls or responding to our messages. It was due to this that we were forced to approach the Defence Minister directly. Prasad is a very capable scientist which is clear from the work that he has done. His transfer, without taking even his director into confidence, is shocking. We are still awaiting a response from the Defence Minister. You can just imagine the kind of damage these kinds of things do to an official’s morale. He was offered multiple employment opportunities from various private corporate entities to head their division but he rejected them all,” Narayanappa said.