New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of corporatisation and privatisation of ordnance factories in Kolkata. (Also read: ‘BJP Won LS Polls by Cheating,’ Says Mamata) Also Read - Cyclone Nivar: PM Modi Speaks to Tamil Nadu CM, Announces Ex-gratia of Rs 2 Lakh From PMNRF
She wrote, “I have been receiving reports about a decision that the government has apparently been taking to corporatise all ordnance factories, including Ordnance Factory Board. I request you to stall and reverse the process in the greater interest of national security.” Also Read - West Bengal: Suvendu Adhikari Resigns as State Transport Minister, Cracks Widen In Trinamool Congress
She said that the Ordnance Factory Board, with its headquarters in Kolkata, was the world’s largest “Government set-up for manufacturing arms and ammunition for a country’s armed forces”. She pointed out how it is often called the fourth pillar of the Indian Defence apparatus.
She went on to state how shocked she was that none of the stakeholders was taken into confidence. “At least the Government of West Bengal has not received any inkling of discourses that have led to such inexplicable initiatives in the Government of India.”
Mamata signed off by adding, “While the industrial policy of our country has gradually been made more and more friendly to the private players in the market, there are some core and strategic areas where the State is yet to abdicate its paramount role.”
Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) employees have been staging protests against corporatization and privatization of ordnance factories across the country. In Kolkata, one such protest was held on Monday.
There are 41 ordnance factories under the Ministry of Defense all over the country. About 675 products related to the Army, including emission, defense cable, are prepared in these units. Almost 90% of these are supplied to the Army, while the remaining 10% is supplied to other forces.