Post Corporatization Of OFB, Do Not Play With Health Services Of Employees And Their Families

AIDEF, BPMS and CDRA to request Defence Minister to withdraw decision of handing over Hospitals to various State Governments

The Modi Government has converted the 41 Ordnance Factories into 7 Corporations. However, while implementing this decision the 29 Hospitals and Dispensaries attached to these Ordnance Factories which takes care of the health service of the employees and their family members has not been attached with these Companies.

The Hospitals and Dispensaries are kept under the control of the newly created Directorate of Ordnance (C&S). It seems that the Government doesn’t want to continue with these Hospitals and Dispensaries and wanted to wash
away its hands. Dr. Ajay Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) has written a DO Letter on the 10th of January, 2022, to almost 10 Chief Secretaries of the various State Governments wherever the Ordnance Factories Hospitals are located.

In his DO Letter Dr. Ajay Kumar has requested the State Governments to take over these Hospitals, he also states in his Letter that the new 7 Corporations would be running on Commercial basis and should concentrate only on Core production activities and hence it has been decided that the Ordnance Factory Hospitals may not be transferred to the new Corporate entities and may be transferred to the State Government or any Central Government Organization. has already published a news item informing our viewers about the Letter issued by CPI MP Binoy Vishwam to Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, requesting him to continue the functioning of the Ordnance Factory Hospitals to take care of the health service of the employees and their Family Members.

After getting access of the DO Letter written by Dr. Ajay Kumar, we contacted C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF to find out the reaction of the employees who are already in distress after Corporatization. He said “First of all we object the Secretary (DP)s statement that the Ordnance Factories should run on commercial line with a single customer base. This single customer viz. the Armed Forces are now given liberty by the Government to procure items from its choice companies. In this situation how the Government is expecting Ordnance Factories to function on commercial line. We fail to understand that how the Government has come to the conclusion that running Hospitals is a distraction and might impinge on the efficacy, an irrational decision. The DDP should understand that almost all the PSUs in the Country are administrating their own Hospitals in a most efficient manner. Therefore, it cannot be concluded the PSUs are not require to run Hospitals. Government has realized the importance of these Hospitals during the first phase of COVID-19 crisis. In fact, during COVID-19 crisis these PSU Hospitals, Railways and Ordnance Factory Hospitals came to the rescue of the Government in giving the required care for the COVID-19 patients and due to which the common man of the Country living in and around these Hospitals was benefited, otherwise they must have been forced to spent lakh of rupees for their medical treatment in Private Corporate Hospitals.

Srikumar further said that the present decision of the Government to hand over the Hospitals to State Governments have come at a stage when the CGHS under the Ministry of Health and ESIC under the Ministry of Labour has refused to take over these Hospitals. The decision of the Government to hand over these Hospitals to the State Governments is a blatant violation of the Cabinet decision and the commitment given by the DDP in the Parliament and also in the High Court of Madras in the case filed by the AIDEF that the service conditions of the employees which includes Medical Services will be protected. The employees residing not only in the Factory Estate, but also residing within 8 kilometres from the Factory gate is governed under a statutory Medical regulation promulgated by the Hon’ble President of India viz. the Ordnance Factories Medical Regulation (OFMR). How can the Government take away this medical right of the employees. Moreover, many of the Ordnance Factories are subjected to accidents while performing the duty, starting from minor to major nature because they are involved in manufacturing of Arms, Ammunitions, Weapons, Armoured Vehicles and other sensitive equipment.

He added that many of the Hospitals are located in remote stations like Aruvankadu, Itarsi, Bolangir, Chandrapur, Varangaon and Bhandara etc. Therefore, the decision of the Government to wither away with the Hospitals is not at all acceptable and it may attract contempt of Court when the entire Government decision of Corporatization is a matter which is sub-judice, since cases are pending in various High Courts including Madras High Court. Post Corporatization employees are subjected to hardship and harassment on a daily basis. Employees are not allowed to do their work in a peaceful manner. Daily they come to the Factory with an insecurity in their mind that today what is going to happen and what new instructions are going to come. The Federation is trying its best to motivate the employees and to prepare them to overcome the crisis created by the Government. After we came to know about the DO Letter issued by the Secretary (Defence Production), the leadership of AIDEF, BPMS and CDRA discussed and have decided to approach the Defence Minister through a joint representation requesting him to withdraw the decision of handing over the Hospitals and to continue the services of the Hospitals by attaching these Hospitals with the Ordnance Factories as it is existing today. As already informed to the Defence Minister we will be left with no other option than to plunge into series of agitational programmes in the coming days if the attack and harassment against the employees continues.

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