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India's civilian aircraft plan expected to get nod

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India's dream project of building mid-size civilian aircraft is expected to get a nod on Tuesday at a high-level meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss measures to boost the manufacturing sector.

The meeting of the High Level Committee on Manufacturing will also discuss ways to boost steel production and textile exports besides the launch of pilot project on electric and hybrid vehicles for Delhi.

One of the most crucial decisions expected at the meeting is the go-ahead for the preparatory work on building a mid- size civilian aircraft having medium range, sources told PTI.

The proposal to build an indigenous 90-seater aircraft has been in the pipeline for a number of years.

According to the proposal, the design and development of the aircraft is expected to cost Rs 4,355 crore and series production would entail further expenditure of Rs 3,200 crore.

The aircraft is to be built through a collaborative venture of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and DRDO. It will be take some years to be ready for flight.

Earlier, Bangalore-based NAL had earlier developed India's first multi purpose 14-seater civilian aircraft Saras.

But on March 6, 2009, two IAF test pilots along with a flight test engineer were killed when the second prototype crashed 30 km from Bangalore.

The meeting is also expected to finalise an action plan to develop production capacity in advanced alloys and composites.

A pilot project on electric and hybrid vehicles for Delhi is also expected to be worked out.

The meeting will also deliberate on a plan to boost textile industry and exports, given the price advantages India has in this sector.


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