THE three ordnance factories in Pune — Ammunition Factory Khadki, High Explosives Factory and Ordnance Factory, Dehu Road — will start production activities from Monday with 33 per cent of the staff allowed on the premises at any given point. The ordnance factories across India will also start functioning in the coming days as per the directives and restrictions of local authorities and state government orders.
The main production activities in 41 ordnance factories across India were suspended from the last week of March following the nationwide lockdown. Personnel involved in only essential and skeletal services have been reporting to work in these factories. However, in the following days, some factories started producing safety utilities like hand sanitisers, PPE kits and other Covid relief items. Only these sections of the ordnance factories have been operational.
Mukesh Singh, general secretary of the defence workers’ units Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS), which is an arm of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, said, “Following recent guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ordnance Factory Board had directed individual factories to work towards the possibility of resuming production activities in adherence to local restrictions and state government orders. The general managers of the individual factories had written to competent authorities and work in factories will soon resume — in many cases with constraints. At some places, with 33 per cent and at other places with 50 per cent or full staff.”
An order on resumption of work at the Ammunition Factory, Khadki (AFK), issued by the general manager, stated that after the reclassification pf areas into micro-clusters in Khadki area, the premises of AFK is no more in the containment zone, and thus it has been directed that the factory will start operations with 33 per cent of the staff from Monday. The order also states that a roster should be prepared for allocation of 33 per cent of the staff and employees and officers should work accordingly. Work in High Explosives Factory in Khadki and Ordnance Factory Dehu Road is also expected to resume on Monday.
Officials said that resumption of work will be crucial to complete the work orders from the last financial year. It will also depend on whether units supplying raw materials are functioning to their full capacity.
A major chunk of the weapons, ammunition and supplies, not just for armed forces but also paramilitary and police forces, comes from the factories run by the Ordnance Factories Board, which is body under the Ministry of Defence. Their products include civilian and military-grade arms and ammunition, explosives, propellants and chemicals for missiles systems, military vehicles, armoured vehicles, optical devices, parachutes, support equipment, troop clothing and general stores items.
The network of OFB’s 41 ordnance factories is supported by training and marketing centres, safety controller units, in entirety employs around 1.3 lakh people including 82,000 factory workers.
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