The first Ordnance Factory in India was established in 1801 at Kolkatta. The Gun and Shell Factory Cossipore started production on the 18th of March, 1802. This day was celebrated as the “OF Day” for the past so many years by the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board. However, the Modi Government abolished the Ordnance Factory Board during the year 2021 and the 41 Ordnance Factories were converted into 7 Corporations. With this the official celebration of Ordnance Factory Day has come to an end.
Since the demand of the Federations and Associations that OF Day celebrations in the Ordnance Factories should continue, was rejected by the Government last year, the major employees organizations viz. AIDEF, BPMS, CDRA and the Officers Association (IOFSOA) jointly took a decision to celebrate the OF Day on 18th March, 2022. The employees participated in a large scale in the celebrations and took a pledge to undertake any sacrifice for the growth and prosperity of Ordnance Factories.
For the past one year, the Federations are fighting with the Government demanding to withdraw Corporatization and to protect their service as Central Government Employees / Defence Civilian Employees. They are also fighting for getting full workload to the 41 Ordnance Factories. Many representations have been submitted to Rajnath Singh the Defence Minister.
In this backdrop, a joint meeting of AIDEF, BPMS, CDRA and IOFSOA was held on the 12th of March, 2023, wherein these Organizations have decided to observe the “Ordnance Factory Day-2023” on 18th of March, 2023 by wearing OF Day Badges on the same day and also to take a pledge. www.indianpsu.com accessed a copy of the pledge which the employees are going to take on the OF Day. The contents of the oath is published here.
www.indianpsu.com contacted C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF to find out what have prompted them to change the OF Day pledge this year. He stated that “Ordnance Factories are nation’s pride. Only on the ground that a Defence Production Secretary to satisfy the political bosses has included Corporatization of Ordnance Factories in the 100 days agenda for his own benefits, today the 221 years old Defence Industry and its employees are suffering. All the fan fare announcements made by the Government has been now exposed, no employee of the Ordnance Factories are happy with the present situation. The Government announced that post Corporatization, the Ordnance Factories will achieve Rs. 30,000 crores. The production of the current financial year and the future workload of the Factories are not even 40% of the above target fixed by the Government. Army has been given free hand to procure from anywhere they want. Army is not placing directly Orders to the Ordnance Factories. Rosy picture is submitted before the Parliamentary Standing Committee by the MoD. The AIDEF, BPMS and CDRA have already prepared a detailed note in which we have established that the Corporatization exercise of the Government is a total failure and the bureaucrats who designed the Corporatization model and the consultants who took crores of money are not there in the picture to sort out the hundreds of problems being faced by the Ordnance Factories and its employees today.
The Ordnance Factories used to be in the list of top hundred Defence Manufacturing Companies in the rank list published by SIPRI. However, the Ordnance Factories have been removed from the list of hundred Defence Manufacturing Companies post Corporatization. We are demanding for a white paper from the Government and a study / audit by an independent agency including the CAG to make public what is happening in the Ordnance Factories post Corporatization. In this situation this year we have decided to take pledge on Ordnance Factory Day in a different manner. We want to tell the Country that the Ordnance Factories are fighting many wars against apathy, neglect, indifference and insensitivity. We will not allow anybody to ever kill the spirit of Ordnance Factories, since Ordnance Factories live in our heart and in our soul and we will not allow the Ordnance Factories to be liquidated and this pledge we will be taking on the “Ordnance Factory Day 2023” concluded C. Srikumar