ORDNANCE FACTORIES have been sending raw materials and components of arms and ammunition for testing to a Kolkata laboratory that was last year blacklisted by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) — a constituent board of the Quality Council of India.
Sources said the blacklisted Indian Quality Controllers laboratory does not have necessary infrastructure or expertise, but has been giving out reports and ‘quality’ certificates in bulk with an NABL logo. Not only ordnance factories, even vendors supplying materials to them have been obtaining certificates from the lab in North Kolkata, sources said.
Ordnance factories under the aegis of its corporate headquarters in Kolkata, Ordinance Factory Board (OFB), engage in defence production and is mandatory for them to test components at accredited labs after purchase.
“OFB would examine this issue and revert at the earliest after obtaining necessary inputs,” the board’s public relations officer told The Indian Express.
Speaking from New Delhi, former director general of Ordnance Factories, Sartaj Singh, said: “This is serious. According to procedure, tests had to be conducted only in labs approved by NABL. If what you say is true, then the reports cannot be accepted.” Ordnance factories, including those in Badmal (Odisha), Chanda (Maharashtra) and Cossipore Gun and Shell Factory (Kolkata), engaged the Kolkata lab even after it was blacklisted on September 29 last year. NABL sources said the lab was blacklisted after a “total system failure and gross negligence in technical aspects” was identified. The lab tested materials beyond its scope, sources said.
“Our organisation forcibly withdraws accreditation when there are strong anomalies and negligence. Accreditation status of Industrial Quality Controllers, Kolkata, has been placed under forced withdrawal category and the information to this effect has been already posted on the NABL’s website for customers and stakeholders. Necessary action will be taken if we find that our logo is being used,” said Anil Relia, CEO of NABL. “We have taken serious view of your information that the laboratory is testing critical items of ordnance factories and other government agencies,” read a statement by Srikanth R, joint director of NABL.
The proprietor of the lab, Sanjay Das, said, “Yes, it (accreditation) was withdrawn in September,” he said, refusing to elaborate further. With inputs from Sweety Kumari