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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 18, 2007
Ordinance Factory Board feels the heat from Defence Ministry, Army
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Ordinance Factory Board feels the heat from Defence Ministry, Army

The worlds largest government run production organisation the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), is on the line of fire from its guardian- the Ministry of Defence-and its biggest customer- the Indian Army- as today both criticised it for failing to deliver quality defence products on time.

New Delhi, May 18 : The world's largest government run production organisation the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), is on the line of fire from its 'guardian'- the Ministry of Defence-and its biggest customer- the Indian Army- as today both criticised it for failing to deliver 'quality' defence products on time.

Defence Minister A K Antony, who today inaugurated a two-day conference of the Board, chose the word 'critical review' for the Board's performance, and added, that the conference would decide the future of the Board that gets 80 percent of its revenue from the Indian Army for providing a range of products like weapons, ammunition, night-vision devices, parachutes and also clothes for soldiers.

"The time has come for a critical review of the functioning of the OFBs," Antony said, adding, "There have been complaints regarding quality of the products, as well as feedback from customers regarding quality of the products, as well as feedback from customers that the products are delivered on time."

Refusing to tone down his criticism against the Board, Antony said: OFB has been functioning only as a departmental production agency , without any commercial orientation, and demanded that these factories equip themselves to face competition from private players in the sector.

The responsibility of carrying out the indigenisation process, has been 'discouraging' so far, according to the Defence Ministry.

"We have to procure most of our defence equipment from outside, which results in a substantial expenditure, running into several thousand crores of rupees every year," Antony said.

"A country like India cannot go on like this," he added.

Secretary, Defence Production, K P Singh, who also was present during the conference, tersely remarked that the Ordnance Factories have failed to offer anything 'worthwhile' to the army.

The Indian Army, which paid the OFB rupees 3996.7 crores of its total stores budget of rupees 6035.5 crores last fiscal, also complained about the factories' inordinate delay in delivering equipments, some of which becomes 'obsolete'.

"The issue that compels us to insist on modernization is the presently existing long lead time of 42 months. With expansion in the industrial base, it should become possible for the Ordnance Factories to make available items to the Armed Forces in the shortest time frame," said Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Deepak Kapoor.

ANI

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