Missing scientist never absented from duty, says former colleague

June 13th, 2009 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 13 (IANS) A researcher colleague of missing Kaiga Atomic Power Plant scientist Loknath Mahalingam remembers him as a person who never absented himself from duty without taking official leave.
K. Ramamurthy, station director of Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) at Kalpakkam, where Mahalingam had worked earlier, said he had never gone on unauthorised leave while working at Kalpakkam, 80 km from Chennai.

Mahalingam, 47, a senior scientific officer working with Kaiga Atomic Power Plant in Karnataka for the last 10 years, has been missing since Monday after he went on a morning walk in Kaiga township.

“Mahalingam is a mild mannered person, content with doing the work assigned to him. We don’t have any record of him absenting from duty without proper authorisation,” Ramamurthy told IANS over phone from Kalpakkam.

Reacting to reports that Mahalingam had gone away for 10 days without informing his family while working at MAPS, Ramamurthy said: “I have interacted with him. I have not observed in him any attitude of going away without informing and returning.”

Queried about additional safety precautions taken at the employee residential colony after the mysterious disappearance of Mahalingam, he said: “We don’t know what has actually happened - whether it is a kidnap or something else. However, employees are aware of the situation and they are careful.”

“Based on the instructions we get from our headquarters and the security agencies, necessary action will be taken.”

He said the two entrances of the residential colony are manned by security personnel.

Meanwhile, the two 220 MW nuclear reactors at MAPS are now generating around 130 MW each and exporting around 220 MW to the state grid.

“The fuel position is improving. We expect to touch full capacity in four months’ time. There are no plans to shut down the units for maintenance during this calendar year,” Ramamurthy said.

Power generation at MAPS went down owing to shortage of uranium.

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