In continuation of various mischievous Articles being published by many Retired Army Generals with the ulterior motive of tarnishing the image of Ordnance Factories, another article was published in the Times of India, written by one Retd. Lt. General by name K.J.Singh on 11/10/2020. He also has written the Article to satisfy his masters that he has done his job given to him that is to tarnish the image of the 219 years old Indian Ordnance Factories. Criticism is always welcome, if the intention is not doubtful. But the Article written by this Retd. General is not to criticise the Ordnance Factories in a constructive manner, the motive behind this Article is to degrade the precious Defence Industry. If such an Article was written against the Armed Forces there must have been hue and cry throughout the whole Nation. Ordnance Factories are the Fourth Force of Defence of our Country and are not Orphans to be neglected. Unfortunately even after a week period no rebuttal has come from the MoD/DDP against such a false and fabricated Article. The workers who struggle day and night in odd working conditions inside the Ordnance Factories to equip the Armed Forces cannot remain as silent spectators after reading such type of Articles. Therefore the workers of the Ordnance Factories have requested me that being a Retired Worker from Ordnance Factory I should give a befitting reply to this Retd. Army Officer. Therefore this rebuttal is not only for him, but also for those retired Army officers who are in the waiting list to write such type of truthless and malicious Articles against the Indian Ordnance Factories.
General, we are impressed by the way, you have misled the nation by distortion of facts and figures, even going to the extent of praising Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) for your vested interest. We assume that you have superannuated, or else you could have written this article as PRO of MOD. But, your name does not indicate that you have retired. Is it that you want to mislead the nation?
Errors in Facts
General, you have got a time lag in your article. The strike as written by you has been deferred/postponed based on the settlement reached in a conciliation proceedings held under the Chairmanship of the Chief Labour Commissioner(Central) on 09/10/2020. You are grossly out of date with facts and figures and have made many mistakes, not expected by excellence seeking retired officer.
• The announcement was made by the finance minister on May 16, not on May 14 as stated by you.
• There is no system of self-certification for quality assurance without the validation of the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA).
• The need for modernisation as brought by you is not the same as Corporatisation.
The decision about the location of a factory cannot be close to the border. So your questioning only exposes your little knowledge of strategic decisions on location.
OFB’s capability is beyond basic weapons
You have stated that India has been importing basic weapons. But the facts stand otherwise. OFB’s impressive product range for weapons comprise of Small Arms- 5.56mm INSAS LMG and Assault Rifles, 7.62mm MMG, LMG, SLR and Assault Rifles, 9mm Carbine and Pistol, Medium and Heavy Calibre weapons- 12.7mm AA & HMG, 30mm Cannon, 40mm L70 AA Gun, 84mm RCL, 105mm Light Field Gun,155mm Ordnance Mortar Equipment- 51 mm, 81 mm and 120 mm.
OFB’s product range in ammunition & explosives cover Small Arms Ammunition; 5.56mm Ammunition – Ball, SS109, 7.62mm X 51mm Ammunition – Ball, Tracer and Blank; 9mm Ammunition- Ball Parabellum, Tracer and Blank, Medium Calibre Ammunition- 23mm Ghasha and Schilka ammunition,30mm Ammunition BMP-2K (HE/T, AP/T, HE/I),40mm HET and TPT ammunition, Heavy Calibre Ammunition- 84mm ammunition (TPT, HE, HEAT, Illg), 105mm Gun ammunition – HE, HESH, Smk, Illg, 125mm tank ammunition – HE, HEAT and FSAPDS, 130mm Gun ammunition – HE,155mm Gun ammunition -HE, Smk, Illg& ERFB version,68mm SNEB Arrow Rockets and Aerial Bombs (HSLD 250kg, 450kg and 1000lbs), Mortars- 51mm, 81mm and 120mm – HE, Smk, llg.
The fact is that even the user sometimes is not able to make a specification, leading to repeated retraction of RFPs. If the user is not sure of what he wants, he is bound to land up in imports. Whom are you blaming General?
Dhanush, a proven product and Barrels for Tanks
Your statement that Dhanush is stalled with barrel bursts, probably due to faulty ammunition is grossly incorrect. On bulk production clearance, the production has started. Defence investigation of ATAGS problem is yet to come. You need to have patience before rushing to the media with your coloured views, for a trial by media.
OFB has not only improved the T-72 barrels, supplying better barrels compared to Russian Barrels. In fact, CAG (Report No. 44 of 2015 (Defence Services) ) has brought out in the issue of “Indigenous production of T-90 tanks: Extracts from Audit Report No: 35 of 2014″ that a case in point is the DGQA thwarting the proposal by the Ordnance Factories for using “modified chemistry” proposed for the barrel for T-90 tank. This was despite the fact that the Factories had experience with “modified chemistry” for the barrel of T-72 tanks (precursor to T-90 tank); the T72 and T-90 tank use similar gun barrel. Hence, your allegations are devoid of any substance and are done to promote vested interests to condemn OFB.
Questionable statements on Clothing
The history of demands of Clothing Items brings out that many times, Army has gone to trade, only to come back to OFB for lack of quality. Case in Point is Blanket Barracks.The brand, along with the warranty for a lifetime, comes with a price tag. Nothing stops the Armed Forces to buy from the Trade if the consideration is only Price irrespective of quality. The fact that Army top brass was keen to source UN Peace Keeping Uniforms from OCF, Avadi is another proof of the quality of OFB Troop Comfort Items. This expertise was leveraged during COVID 19 times for the production of various protective items, which goes a long way to make a statement about the quality of capability of OFB equipment units. You are also not aware of the Fact that all the raw materials including the cloth are subjected to different quality parameter testings in the NABL accredited Labs available in the 5 Ordnance Factories, which are involved in manufacturing of the strategic Army Logo Battle Field Uniforms, Extreme Climate Clothings, Parachutes and various equipments, including boots required for the Armed Forces. The Army General should say which private firm in this country have got such facilities and systems, which take care of the quality of the Troop Comfort items of the soldiers. In the name of cost and low technology the Army has several times gone to the Private sector for procurement of these items and miserably failed and forcing them to come back to Ordnance Clothing Factories.
The vested interest of import lobby may be one of the reasons, working time and again for which repeated RFPs are done with retraction. It is a proven fact that after the raw material inspection was taken over by OFB from DGQA, quality has improved.
Absorption of ToT by OFB
OFB’s credential in the absorption of ToT is well documented and accepted by Various Parliamentary Committees. The following is quoted from the report in 2015-16.
Quote-Indigenisation of Defence Stores is a major thrust area of OFB and is carried out either through Transfer of Technology (TOT) from Foreign Original Equipment’s Manufacturers (OEMs)/DRDO or through in-house R&D.
The value of indigenisation vis-a-vis value of supplies for the last three years is as under:
______________________________________________________________ (Rs in Crore)
|Year||Value of Supply||Value of indigenous content||% of
Indigenisation details for major projects are as under:
|Present level of
indigenisation as of Dec’16
|Planned level of
|Status of indigenisation|
|92.78 %||95.6 %||Out of 27 codes (main systems) pertaining to OFB, 24 codes have been indigenised. Indigenized Main Gun AO-18 is planned to be proof fired by Mar 17|
|Tank T-90||69.5 %||98.5 %||Further indigenisation process commenced after receipt of 2nd Indent of 236 Nos in Dec’ 2013|
|40 mm PFFC||71.85 %||100 %||A task force is working for complete indigenisation of end Store by Dec’17. MED. Battery and SAD remain to be indigenised|
|84mm HEAT-551||85.87%||100 %||Rocket Motor Charge, Base Plate, Safety Spring &Octol are being developed through in house & trade sources|
Thus, the record of OFB is beyond doubt, as certified by Parliamentary Standing Committee. General, you are expected to verify facts and figures before going to the media, which may not be a virtue of some retired Generals, who go to the extent of in earning and praising POFs.
POF and OFB
In the list of Top 100 Arms Manufacture published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), OFB’s name appear at 56th; however, the name of POF’s does not appear in the list. POF reportedly is exporting to many countries (most of which are in the middle east) that may be due to Pakistan’s liberal export policy, whereas India’s export policy is confined to few ‘friendly nations’ to avoid ‘warmongering’. Hence, OFB’s comparison with POF is uncalled for.
It is not clear, what model you are suggesting? You have praised Pakistan OF. On the one hand, you have suggested Privatisation, and on the other hand, you want accountability under strict military overwatch, and bureaucrats to be kept at arm’s length. Are you suggesting Military autocracy model of Pakistan? Then, a larger debate is required.
You have praised Pakistan Ordnance Factories. You have also mentioned that POF has absorbed the Chinese technologies and their munitions are in service with 40 countries. It clearly develops a doubt in the minds of the readers that you may be in the payroll of POF and the Chinese company. Do you want Indian Army should also go POF way and take control of India bringing Martial law as done in Pakistan after the creation of DMA and CDS? Your thoughts are dangerous to the democracy of India, and we request Honourable PM to act against you.
Violation of the Press Code of Conduct and offence under NSA
Since you have published objectionable material violating; the matter is being taken with the Time of India, failing which matter will be escalated with Press Council of India.The content published by you is inaccurate, baseless, graceless, misleading or distorted material, violating Code for Accuracy and Fairness, defamatory or libellous against OFB against Norm on Caution against defamatory writings. The content is likely to jeopardise, endanger or harm the paramount interests of the State and society in violation of norms of Paramount national interest. The content tries to promote private interest in violation of norms of avoiding crass commercialism. Further, the content is mostly created with Plagiarism, objectionable conduct as per the norms. You have resorted to Trail by Media, as far as investigation from a suitable committee is waited for ATAGS barrel burst, an objectionable violation of code at 41(A) of the Model Code of conduct. Your non-use of a retired word after your name gives the impression of a serving officer too is highly objectionable.
You have committed an offence by acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and the security of India,under National Security Act, 1980 by suggesting Military models for a democratic country by putting bureaucracy at length. The workers of Ordnance Factories demands that you and TOI make a public apology, or else necessary actions will be taken to protect the interest of the State and image of OFB. Other actions must follow that such an act are not repeated by many other Generals seeking favour, cream jobs from Private sector at the cost of national interest. If you have got little bit of patriotism left with you I can only advice you on behalf of the committed and devoted workforce of the Ordnance Factories that please stop misleading the nation and don’t be instrumental to kill Ordnance Factories to benefit the Private Corporates, who will never come to the rescue of the Armed Forces when they are in need.
The above views are expressed by C.Srikumar General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation and the Convener of AITUC, Public Sector Unions