This very day, the country celebrates the Kargil Vijay Diwas to mark the anniversary of Indian Army’s victory against Pakistan, after more than 60 days war on the Kargil on Ladakh. A high altitude warfare in mountain terrain, the brave Indian Soldiers drove away the Pakistan Military Forces and took back control of the high outposts in the region.
Today President Ramnath Kovind is visiting Drass and is paying homage at the memorial situated on the foot hills of Tololing. Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed in honour of the Kargil War Heros, soldiers who died in the line of duty serving the mother land. Prime Minister in his message has stated that “we remember their sacrifices, we remember their valour. Today on Kargil Vijay Diwas we pay homage to all those who lost their lives in Kargil protecting our nation. Their bravery motivate us every single day”.
The 4 lakh defence civilian employees salute the Indian Army and pay our humble tributes to those brave soldiers who sacrificed their life to guard our frontier against our enemies. While the nation proudly remembers the role of soldiers of our country on this occasion it is unfortunate that nobody remembers and said a single word about the role played by the Indian Ordnance Factories in achieving this historical victory by the Indian Army.
Here I would like to place on record what former COAS General V P Malik who headed the operation. He said “Indian ordnance Factories which could produce ammunition and some equipments for which they had the necessary technology, rose to the occasion. But we faced considerable problems in procuring items that had to be imported at short notice”.
Ordnance Factories won accolades from the then Chief of Army Staff and the Parliamentary Standing Committee for its commendable role in fully equipping the Indian Army for the battle. In fact Ordnance Factories stretch its capacity in all the critical items as per the demands even to the extent of 200 percent of pre-kargil supplies. Its always an experience that so long as there is no conflict, private vendors are willing to supply at low rates especially those products being manufactured in Ordnance Factories, whereas in case of any war like situation or external aggression, most of the Vendors try to gain most out of the situation, either by not supplying or raising the prices to earn mind boggling profits, which has been validated in the CAG report which analyzed the contribution of Private Sector during Kargil operations.
For a common man patriotism is not just a feeling, but an act as well. It comes in many forms from fighting a war for the country and also making the fighters fight with potency. This is where is the role of Ordnance Factory comes. Ordnance Factories is the force behind the Armed Forces. The 41 Ordnance Factories as Organisation represent the spirit of highly technical workmanship, penchant for excellence and commitment for innovation. The mission of Ordnance Factories is to win the next frontier of Military Technology by collaborating with the users, whose interest drives the employees to work by giving their sweat and blood. In any war the private firms have never come to the rescue of the Armed forces. It was always Ordnance Factories which had risen to the trust of the customer. The success of all the wars is largely credited to the valour of Indian Army, equipped with Arms, Ammunitions, Troop comfort items and other equipments from Ordnance Factories.
We place on record our deep appreciation for the valour, courage and daring of our brave Armed Forces. At the same time the employees of ordnance Factories worked day and night in all the Factories without even going to their houses weeks together and produced whatever was required for the Indian Army. This exemplary role played by the ordnance Factories during the Kargil crisis was appreciated by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the then President late K.R.Narayana in the Parliament. Such patriotism has been demonstrated time and again by Ordnance Factories not only during the times of war, but during the recent war against Covid-19 pandemic.
We once again reiterate, that the employees of Ordnance Factories will not fail the expectations of the brave warriors of this nation. Unfortunately, everybody has conveniently forgotten the Ordnance Factories and its employees. Today, the employees of Ordnance Factories are out on the street. They are now fighting to save the Indian Ordnance Factories from liquidation. The employees of Ordnance Factories never expected any reward from the Government for their contribution to the Nation, but then the Government is ill-treating them by promulgating an Ordinance in the name of Essential Defence Services Ordinance – 2021 to curb the democratic and fundamental rights of protest guaranteed in the constitution.
The Government ignoring all the contributions of the Ordnance Factories and to fulfill the vested interest false stories are fabricated against Ordnance Factories just to make a case for its demise through Corporatisation. The Govt. is not prepared to examine the alternative proposals given by the Federations. We are fighting for the continuation of sustaining the Ordnance Factories, so that the nation is not taken for a ride. The country should not allow the Armed Forces to fall in the mercy of private sector. Our fight is for that. To serve the purpose of Private Corporate the propangada being made is that Ordnance Factories are bad, everything about private is good. But when India fought wars its OFB’s product that made India win. Our battle is against the narratives created through medias, TV debates, many Retd. Generals, the selective leakages from MoD against Ordnance Factories ignoring the interest of the Nation.
Patriotism is in the soul of every employee of Ordnance Factory. Whenever the situation warranted we have not even thought about our demands and our welfare. We stood with the Army and always worked for the Nation. The real problem is not the Ordnance Factories and its employees, it is the blind administration drunk with the lure of Capitalist philosophy to sell the Ordnance Factories to the private interest, because Corporatisation is always
the step towards privatization.
In this Kargil Vijay Diwas I can only say let wisdom prevail on the Government. Let MoD withdraw the order of Corporatisation. Let the Govt. withdraw the EDSO-2021. Let the hands of the soldiers join with the employees of ordnance Factories to make all challenges to make this country great with indigenous Defence Equipments and Troop Comfort items from the Ordnance Factories.
We the employees of Ordnance Factories pledge that we always stand for the Defence preparedness of our country forgetting our self interest. We will continue to fight to keep the nation safe from malafide intention of private interest.
Jai Jawan ! Jai Ordnance Factories ! Jai Sharmik of Ordnance Factories !
Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF