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Private sector giants `poach' NPCIL personnel

P. Sudhakar

12 employees of the Koodankulam power project have quit



POWERFUL: A view of nuclear reactors that are being built at Koodankulam. — Photo: A. Shaikmohideen.

KOODANKULAM: The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which is operating 16 nuclear reactors across the country and constructing seven more is facing a serious threat from private sector giants, who are "poaching" on the skilled manpower of the Corporation.

As the construction of nuclear reactors is increasing phenomenally worldwide and the Union Government has set a target of generating 20,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2020 through the construction of more reactors, the need for qualified workforce has increased manifold. When the Government decided to allow private companies in the construction of nuclear reactors, many firms came forward to accept this challenging task.

Both domestic companies such as Tata, Reliance and L & T and international firms such the General Electric of the United States, Areva and Electricite De France opened office in India and abroad to scout for projects as well as qualified manpower. Since some of these companies could not get skilled workforce directly through recruitment of freshers, they have started wooing the personnel of the NPCIL.

When these companies came forward to offer attractive package, the hitherto loyal workforce has started moving to greener pastures, officials say. A senior project engineer is being offered Rs. 1.50 lakh by the private companies, while they can draw only Rs. 30,000 in the NPCIL.

As many as 37 middle-level employees at the NPCIL headquarters have left, having got lucrative offers from private companies. "We are working on this issue, which is top of our agenda," says S.K. Agrawal, Director (Projects), NPCIL, told The Hindu at Koodankulam on Friday.

The NPCIL, which is constructing 2 X 1,000 MWe nuclear reactors at Koodankulam with Russian assistance, has so far lost 12 employees of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (nine technical personnel and three officials of the Department of Finance) to the private companies. Before the end of this year, 100 personnel may leave the NPCIL.

To check the situation, the NPCIL is working overtime, Mr. Agrawal said.

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