C. Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF) responds to a media article by Brigadier (Retd.) Akilesh Bhargava, the Chief Instructor of 'PROMEX'
Brigadier (Retd.) Akilesh Bhargava, the Chief Instructor of 'PROMEX' published an article titled “ The Imperatives of Ordnance Factories Corporatization” with the same venom like many retired Army Officers. This Article was published by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis which was again reproduced in The Print Magazine with the title “OFs are now a Hurdle for Armed Forces - Corporatization is the way out”.
It is a pity that we have to reply to the weapon illiterates who even brandished their ignorance to attack the Ordnance Factories. These illiterates has been selective in highlighting the so called defects in OFB products, whereas they are silent in the hopeless quality of the products procured from abroad and from private industries. This exposes the machinations and deliberate attempt on the part of the Retired people from the higher echelons of the Army. This is disgraceful . At such a critical junction to demotivate and destroy the only reliable source of supply of Defence items is anti national with the sole aim to side with private sector.
Brigadier, Can I ask you one question that follows from the title of your article “The Imperatives of Ordnance Factory Corporatisation”?
Let us create a hypothetical scenario. Are you given the task of fighting with the enemy in the Poonch Sector? Will you bank on the imperative of an Artillery Gun, or Tanks or BMPs or have a common strategy to win against the enemy. Of will you bet on just one Weapon? You will not write to your boss on the imperative of a Selective Gun. You will make a strategy for winning to defeat the enemy.
Herein lies, the flaw in your thinking. You have banked on Corporatisation, a type of Weapon. But your aim is not clear. Taken the fact that you have chosen only one Weapon, say Corporatisation for OFB. We could not know why you have chosen that Weapon. But, you are confident about your victory.
Let us again visualise that On one fine morning Corporatisation has been published. Will that day all your problem of Quality, workmanship etc will be solved? Please remember, sitting in Academic Institute funded by Govt of India, you are writing an article without any references, with your hunch, with your biased views, violating ethical code set by your institute, speaks poorly not only about you, but degrading the Quality of the Think Tank- MP IDSA. Sheer Blasphemy unleashed by you.
The article does not outline how this Corporatiosation will work.
You have concluded that the OFs have failed on all four counts (Quality, Modernisation, R&D, Customer satisfaction) by miles. Neither is there any quality control nor have steps been taken to modernise the product profile. It is quite strange that you have not recommended for the closure of OFB. You have stated that neither is there any quality control nor have steps been taken to modernise the product profile.
Brigadier, when have you visited OFB last? We have doubt, is you have ever read a specification, its QA Plan, ISO 9000, 17025 standards followed by the Units as demonstrative evidence of Quality? If you go through them, you will find that you are grossly confused. In your ignorance, you have misinformed a larger audience for your vested interest in making some news headlines.
We know that some people are blind despite having eyes, and deaf despite having ears; You may examine if you are one of them for hitting the media without fact check. We will quote few lines from Annual Report of MOD for the Year 2018-19.
New Product Lines:
OFB has started a new plant for the manufacture of Ammonium Perchlorate, a strategic ingredient used in propellants for Rockets and Missiles in its factory at HEF, Khadki. The plant is in operation since March 2019.
Presently, Ordnance Factories are manufacturing items with an overall indigenous content of 87%. A milestone was achieved in 2018-19 when Ordnance Factories handed over 100% indigenous engines of tank T-72 and Tank T-90 to Indian Army.
Continued thrust on in-house R&D over the last decade has yielded positive results. OFB's ambitious 155x45 Cal Dhanush gun has cleared firing trials conducted by Indian Army. Army conveyed Bulk Production Clearance (BPC) for Dhanush in February 2019, and OFB has made six Guns ready duly cleared by DGQA in March 2019 to be handed over to Army
Further, OFB was successful in signing contract with Indian Army for 130/155mm Up-gun where it emerged the single technically acceptable offer in competition with equipment of imported origin. In the ammunition segment, OFB has successfully established production of 7.62mm A-7 Ammunition for AK-47 Rifle and bulk supply has commenced. OFB has developed 20mm AMR Ammunition (SAPHEI) for MHA and GHASHA propellant for 30mm Ammunition for Indian Navy.
Special focus was given on exports resulting in orders/ supply of pistols, large calibre barrel and ammunition, mine-protected vehicles and other items. Consequently, OFB has executed an all-time high export orders worth over Rs 267 crore during the year 2018-19.
Time for your introspection
Did you forget to read the Annual Report of MOD? Or did not you have time? Or did you not read, since, it does not suit your logic. Please answer yourself honestly. We did not add anything other than Annual Report of MOD, as we do not want to teach a person who is unwilling to learn. We have ample data to contradict you and tear you apart. Just read the following, if you can read English. We have scores of them.
Could not you see a single good thing in OFB? It happens, only when you wear a coloured glass, the world will look coloured. The problem is not with OFB, but with you. Or that you may be inebriated in board daylight to pass such comments without going into detail and first-hand checks. No organisation is perfect. So is OFB. But, OFB has been aspiring and taking many concrete steps to make India Self Reliant. In term of Turnover, Private Sectors are miles apart. In terms of products from R&D, OFB has made its mark. With 35 % Turnover coming from a product that it has designed in-house.
Do you know, to which era this L 70 Gun belongs? However, OFB has planned to increase the safety of the ammunition from both the fuze side or primer side. OFB has roped in Nammo, for changing these crucial parts. The accidents keep recurring from the problem in the System. Long back, OEM upgraded the Gun and ammunition. The Indian Army sticks to the old version. Whose fault is it?
OFB struggles through the various mechanism to provide an upgrade. The Man donning the AHSP role with a Nobel intention makes it next to impossible. For your information, NammoFuze will have one extra level of safety with a perforated nose. During the flight, air will enter through that perforation and drag force will melt the ring inside, and the fuzewill function. This is add on to the existing fuze, improving safety.
Brigadier, do you want a better Gun or do you want OFB to be fixed? I think, your purpose is to crucify OFB with a media-driven enquiry.
Just our analysis- of what might have happened. The higher rate of fire from a vintage barrel with non-qualified ammunition might have led to shortening of breach block movement timing. This shortening leads to a situation of premature extraction of cartridge case. This case, premature extraction seems to have happened as the flowering of cartridge case was observed. Blaming OFB does not help User to get rid of the accident. Improving System helps. Your title better is changed from "The imperatives of OFB Corporatisation" to "The imperatives of overhauling Acquisition and Planning System", when you write next.
Please note that you have violated the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (Conduct Rules - 1984). The imperative for writing a baseless article without supporting data and making conclusions based on one or two incidents is a gimmick played by you with the intention of maligning OFB, in a departure from the Code of Ethics given by Press Council of India. So, both you and your patron MP- IDSA will be sued for your baseless allegations. It is time to take off your goggles and unconditionally apologise or face legal consequences.
The views expressed here are those od C.Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation and the Convener of AITUC, Public Sector Unions