Opposition to ordnance factory corporatisation

Chennai: Amid fears of corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), board chairman Saurabh Kumar has expressed strong opposition to the proposed action of corporatisation during the meeting called by the Secretary of the Department of Production, Ministry of Defence (MoD), in New Delhi on 18 July.

The meeting was also attended by secretaries of Defence, Finance and other senior officials in the Central government.

The ordnance factories are the oldest and largest industrial setup which function under the Department of Defence Production of MoD. The OFB is engaged in production, testing, logistics, research, development and marketing of a comprehensive product range in the area of land, sea and air systems.

The chairman apprised the gathering of the strong opposition on behalf of all sections of employees. He also informed regarding the serious apprehensions of service condition, pay and pension in the proposed corporate structure of OFB in the minds of all employees, according to an internal circular sent with the subject titled ‘Important Information Concerning All the Employees,’ to all ordnance factories in the country.

The chairman was informed by the Chair in case the decision of corporatisation is finally taken, then the interests of all sections of employees regarding pay, pension and service condition will be taken care of.

Sources in OFB said already workers unions are mulling a strike. “The proposed corporatisation has been sent to various ministries for opinions. They are likely to give away the oldest organisation which is considered one of the pillars of MoD to private players which would not be taken lightly by our around 80k employees,” added sources.

The OFB with its 41 factories, nine training institutes across the country, is headquartered in Kolkata. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reverse the process of proposed corporatising ordnance factories in the interest of national security and defence.

M Chitharth