Defence Civilian Employees Of 41 Ordnance Factories Celebrate 223rd Ordnance Factory Day 2024 Throughout The Country

Defence Civilian Employees Of 41 Ordnance Factories Celebrate 223rd Ordnance Factory Day 2024 Throughout The Country

Ordnance Factories Employees will continue to Celebrates OF Day on 18 th of March every year till the Government Scraps Corporatisation and Restore the OFB Status for Ordnance Factories says C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF

Post Corporatisation of 41 Indian Ordnance Factories, the Government and the 7 Ordnance Factories Corporations have stopped Celebration of the Ordnance Factory Day on the 18 th of March every Year. The Ordnance Factory Board was dissolved in the year 2021 and the 41 Factories were splintered into 7 Corporations as DPSU’s. the 7 Companies started celebrating the respective Corporation Day on the 1 st of October from the year 2022 onwards which the employees and their Unions and Associations boycotted and they took a decision that they cannot ignore the legacy of the Indian Ordnance Factories and that they will celebrate the OF Day in a grand manner every year.

This year also the United Forum of Ordnance Employees (UFOE) consisting of the employees and officers organizations viz. AIDEF, BPMS, CDRA and IOFSOA have jointly decided to celebrate the Ordnance Factory Day 2024 on the 18th of March, 2024. Accordingly, the employees and their Trade Unions have celebrated OF Day in a grand manner.

To know about the celebrations and the future existence of Ordnance Factories approached C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF. His response on OF Day Celebrations is published here for the benefits of our viewers.

I am proud to be a Retired Employee of the Ordnance Factory. I am also proud that I am a party for the decision taken in the Joint Consultative Machinery Meeting held during the year 1999 at Ordnance Factory Ambajhari wherein, we demanded that since the customer of Ordnance Factories Army observes Army Day, Air Force observes Air Force Day, Navy observes Navy Day, the Ordnance Factories with 200 years of glorious existence should observe the Ordnance Factory Day. The then Chairman OF Board accepted the demand of ours and considering the facts that the 1st Ordnance Factory i.e. Gun and Shell Factory, Cossipore (Kolkata) was established during the year 1801 and after going through the historical records of the GSF spanning such a long time have ultimately felt that 18th March would be taken as the day on which the 1st Ordnance Factory GSF formally came into being.

Accordingly it was decided to observe 18th March as OF Day every year. The main purpose to observe OF Day is to develop a spirit of belongingness and pride of the organization and self esteem amongst employees at all levels. The objective is to create a sense of pride, self esteemed and belongingness amongst the workforce. Accordingly from the year 1999, OF Day is celebrated in a grand manner, even though the Government and the 7 companies have stopped OF Day Celebrations after Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories in 2021.

The Indian Ordnance Factories termed as the “the Fourth Arm” of India’s Defence Forces rightly fit into the title since the Ordnance Factories produced the Arms, Ammunitions, Explosives, Weapons, Small Arms, Tanks, Infantry Combat Vehicles, Parachutes, Troop Comfort Items, Body Armorer, Bullet Proof Vests & Jackets, Ballistic Helmets, Bullet Proof Vehicles, Mine Protective Vehicles, Missiles, Rockets, Optical Instruments, Tents, Boots and so on. Using these items, the Defence Forces are guarding the frontiers of our country to protect our beloved motherland form the evil design of those people intended to create unrest, economic subversion and instability to our hard won freedom.

The role played by the Indian Ordnance Factories in protecting our motherland during the Kargil War was appreciated by the then President of India and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Late K R Narayanan in the Parliament. Today, there are 41 Ordnance Factories situated in the farthest corners of India spanning from Dehradun to Aruvankadu, from Nalanda to Chandigarh. The Country has achieved Self Reliance and Indigenization in Defence Production through our DRDO and Ordnance Factories.

The Private Corporate Houses in the Country, vested interest in the Armed Forces and self claimed Defence Esteem for the past few decades have started mischievous propaganda to malign the image of the Ordnance Factories which the workforce was resisting. So many committees were formed by the government which recommended for corporatizing the Ordnance Factories so that these factories can be forcefully made sick and then Privatized. However, previous Defence Ministers late George Fernandes, Pranab Mukerjee, Manohar Parrikar and Shri A K Antony released the danger of corporatizing the Ordnance Factories and not allowed the same. Unfortunately, despite our efforts to convince the present regime in the Government that the government should not corporatize the Ordnance Factories, the government proceeded and corporatized the Ordnance Factories which AIDEF have challenged in the High Court and fighting against the same. We have also informed the Defence Minister that the 2
years experience of corporatization has revealed that the exercise of corporatization is a failure with evidences and proof.

Recently the Defence Minister himself in a message in X (Twitter) has stated that even the erstwhile OFB was functioning very effectively. If it is so then why corporatized the Ordnance Factories. We appeal to the Prime Minister and to the Defence Minister on this Ordnance Factory Day Celebrations that the wrong decision taken may be withdrawn. If the controversial Farm Bills passed by the Parliament can be withdrawn by the Government then it can easily withdraw the Corporatization of Ordnance Factories decision taken by the Cabinet. Such decision will be only in the interest of the National Security and Self Reliance of our country.

The Prime Minister has yesterday advised the Council of Ministers to prepare 100 Days Agenda to be implemented if his party comes back to power after the 2024 Parliament Elections. Ordnance Factories were corporatized through 100 days agenda after the 2019 Parliament Elections. Whether the present Government will include in the next 100 days agenda for scrapping corporatization and restoring the status of Ordnance Factories as Ordnance Factory Board and restore the legacy and the fame of the Ordnance Factories. If there is a change in the Government, whether that Government will restore back the OFB Status of the Ordnance Factories. These are all the questions in the minds of almost 70,000 Employees of the Ordnance Factories. Today, in the OF Day Celebrations held in all the 41 Ordnance Factories, the employees have once again taken pledge to continue their battle and struggle for restoring the OFB status of the 41 Ordnance Factories since Ordnance Factories are not for profit making but for the Defence Preparedness of the Country, concluded C Srikumar.

Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF and a veteran trade union leader

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