DRDO Labs Need To Be Strengthened Further And Not To Be Closed

Today,  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan have officially released the 1st batch of Anti-Covid oral drug 2-DG developed by the DRDO. The Drugs Controller General Of India approved the 2-deoxy-D-glucose(2DG) drug for emergency use as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe Corona Virus patients. In his address the Defence Minister said that the Drug has brought a new ray of hope for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. This is a great example of the Scientific prowess of our country.

In the recent past the vested interested elements and some sections of the media used to blindly criticize the DRDO as white elephant and attempt has been made to damage the image of the DRDO labs with the ulterior motive of private corporate taking over these Laboratories in due course of time. A High Level Committee has also recommended for closure of many of the Laboratories especially those Labs dealing with Life Science. At present the following Laboratories are dealing with Research in Life Science.

8) DRL Tezpur, Assam
9) INMAS Delhi

The 2-deoxy-D-glucose(2DG) drug was developed by the Scientists and employees of INMAS, Delhi Lab in collaboration with the center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and Dr.Reddy Laboratories Hyderabad. Clinical trial results have shown that this Molecule helps in faster recovery of Hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental Oxygen dependents. The Drug will be of immense use to the people suffering from Covid-19 Virus. DRDO took it as a challenge to develop the anti-Covid therapeutic application. Being a generic molecule and analogue of Glucose, it can be easily produced and made available aplenty in the country.

The present Government succumbing to the pressure of the private corporate is always trying to destroy the State Own Defence Industries, without realizing the importance of its existence and its role during any emergent and crisis situation. All the Trade Unions and the employees of the Defence Establishments are vehemently
opposing the move of the Government to corporatize the Ordnance Factories, closure/merger of DRDO labs, and also introducing GOCO Model in the Army Base Workshops, since these installations are not established for commercial purpose and for earning profit. These institutions are of National importance and are reserve industries to help the country and the people whenever any crisis develops and the country should not depend on other countries for its requirements.

When we put forth this position to the Government, the Government was not prepared to listen to us. Same is the position with public sector enterprises also. Now in this pandemic crisis the Ordnance Factories, Public sectors and DRDO labs have proved the importance of their existence. Therefore the time has now come for the
Government to reconsider its approach towards the DRDO labs, Ordnance Factories, Army Base Workshops and the Public Sector. DRDO, its Scientists and the entire workforce of DRDO deserves all appreciations, since the DRDO has come out with a medicine to cure the virus infection and to save the precious life of the people of
the country when the whole world is struggling for a medicine to cure the Covid-19 infection.

Hope good sense will prevail on the decision makers sitting at South Block and change their attitude and approach towards the Ordnance Factories and DRDO Labs.

Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation

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