Kolkata, Jul 24: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken strong exception to the decision to privatise the country's 41 Ordnance factories and dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a rethink.
"I am shocked and surprised to know that this vital pillar of the country's defence... is now being contemplated to be subjected to a sudden exercise of de-governmentalization for which there has been not even an iota of stakeholders' consultations uptill now," Ms Banerjee said. " Even the Ordnance Factory Board which has its headquarters in Kolkata may be corporatised, " she commented.
" I urge you to kindly keep that role of national custodianship unaffected in future too," she wrote. She expressed her concern about the 1.6 lakh employees of the Ordnance factories in 41 institutions across the country since 1775. "At least the government of West Bengal has not received any inkling of discourses that have led to such inexplicable initiatives of the Government of India," she added.
“I have been receiving reports that the Government of India has apparently been taking [a decision] to corporatise all the ordnance factories including the Ordnance Factory Board. It has also been suggested that this will finally lead to privatisation of these great national assets,” Ms. Banerjee stated.
The Chief Minister said Ordnance Factory Board, founded in 1775 with its headquarters in Kolkata, has 41 factories all over the country and nine training institutes with about 1.6 lakh officers and employees and is considered to be the world’s largest government set up for manufacturing arms and ammunition.
“I would request you to kindly stall and reverse the process of corporatisation and privatisation in the greatest interest of the national security and defence of our country,” she said in her two-page letter.
She has urged the prime minister to "stall and reverse this process of corporatization and privatization in the greatest interest of the national security and defence of our country. ....There are some core and strategic areas were the state is yet to abdicate its paramount role.” (UNI)