Trivandrum: Dr. B.G. Sreedevi, former director of NATPAC (National Transportation Planning & Research Centre) has stepped down as chief scientist with a broken heart on May 31, 2020. NATPAC, an institution under Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) is a premier R & D institution in the country which works on multi – modal system of transportation covering road, rail, water, air.
Dr. Sreedevi who joined as a scientific officer in the council in 1986, was appointed as NATPAC director on November 15, 2010 for a five year term. She was selected for this post through an open advertisement by the council. After the five years of tenure, she was given an extension by the then UDF government until May 31, 2020. This was based on a council rule, which states an in-house member could be given one more term as director. Also, she had proved her mettle by this time by taking NATPAC into higher levels.
A step to remove Dr. Sreedevi took its initial form shortly after the LDF government came to power in 2016. However, on that occasion, the Chief Minister’s office did not approve of the move. But later her removal came three years ahead of her superannuation. It is alleged that left unions had forced Kerala government to sack her. After which, R. Prakash Kumar, a botanist by profession had been given additional charge of NATPAC.
Upon her removal, Dr. Sreedevi knocked for justice before the single bench of Kerala high court and she was given a welcoming order by the honourable court by stating to reappoint her as the director immediately. The government did not abide by this, instead went for an appeal in division bench and whereby the court pronounced the judgment to reconsider her removal by the council. But, the authorities went at a snail’s pace and finally justified themselves on their deed to remove her as the director.
An alumnus of College of Engineering Thiruvanathapuram, Sreedevi, a highly meritorious student, holds a PhD degree from CUSAT and an M.Tech in structural engineering from IIT Madras. An expert in highway engineering, praised by “Metroman” E. Sreedharan for her achievements, was instrumental in setting up the highway engineering lab, the independent Akkulam campus of NATPAC. There is nothing much being done on the independent NATPAC campus once she was removed from the post of director.
Dr. Sreedevi told that she had always executed things in a legal and upright manner. She opined that she had never deviated from the rules. Sreedevi believes that she may have been targeted by the union as she refused to fulfil certain demands. An officer of farsightedness and strong determination; our country lost the service of Sreedevi for three years merely because of political machinations.