Staff Reporter :
The complex of OFs at Ambajhari, Bhandara, and Chandrapur in Vidarbha region regrouped into two different categories
DESPITE opposition from workers’ bodies, the Government has decided to convert the production units of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) into seven Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). Accordingly, the Ordnance Factories (OFs) in the country have been regrouped into seven categories. As far as Vidarbha region is concerned, the famous triad of OFs at Ambajhari (Nagpur), Bhandara, and Bhadravati (Chandrapur) will be in two different categories of DPSUs. Ordnance Factory Ambajhari (OFAj), Ordnance Factory Bhandara, and Ordnance Factory Chanda in Vidarbha region constituted a ‘complex’.
However, now, in the new scheme of seven DPSUs, these are divided into separate categories. Ordnance Factory Chanda and Ordnance Factory Bhandara have been placed into DPSU category of ‘Ammunition & Explosives’. Whereas, OFAj has been placed into DPSU category of ‘Ancillary’. A former Chairman of OFB and Director General of Ordnance Factories, on the condition of anonymity, told ‘The Hitavada’ that the DPSU categorisation was a ‘welcome step’. “Time is changing. Market and competition are changing. Exports are being encouraged. Tender processes, finding a good partner etc are the issues that need to be addressed. Now, the decision to convert production units of OFB into seven DPSUs will give more freedom, and decision-making will be at factory level. It will also offer flexibility. This will change market dynamics, and increase efficiency,” he said. Having served at OFAj during his service tenure, the former top officer said that OFAj would be in a better position to compete in the market. The workers’ efficiency will increase, and price will come down, he added. OFAj is a premier factory in the family of 41 OFs in the country. It is engaged in manufacture of ammunition hardware viz. shells, cartridge cases, fuzes, rockets and primers, castings and extrusion of special aluminium alloys and fabrication of floating and manually launched assault bridges.
The major customers of OFAj are sister factories engaged in filling these with explosives and after proof testing, issuing to the consignee. The bridges are directly supplied to the Indian Army. The factory is also producing special aluminium alloys to meet the requirement of aircraft industry and space application. These are basically import substitutes. The major customers in this field are HAL, Bangalore; ADA, Bangalore; ISRO, DRDO, LPSC etc. It has a historic background. Subsequent to the China’s border aggression in 1962, greater emphasis was placed on policy planning in the Ministry of Defence towards self-reliance and self-sufficiency in the field of defence production. OFAj was among a number of Ordnance Factories established then. Project was sanctioned in two phases to purchase plant and machinery in March and October 1966. Similarly, Ordnance Factory Bhandara is a pioneer in explosive and chemical group of factories. It has multi-dimensional product-matrix ranging from acids to high explosives and various propellants with the highest quality standards. It has ISO-9001 standard quality management system.
The testing facilities in its well-equipped laboratories are accreditated by NABL. As far as Ordnance Factory Chanda is concerned, the project was sanctioned in 1964 and the initial production commenced in 1970. It was designed as medium and high calibre ammunition manufacturing unit with necessary auxiliaries for producing explosives and non-explosive components such as initiator, primer, cap, fuze, paper component and packages. The categorisation of other OFs in the country is as follows: Ammunition & Explosives -- Ammunition Factory Khadki, Cordite Factory Aruvankadu, High Energy Projectile Factory Tiruchirapalli, High Explosive Factory Khadki, OF Bhandara, OF Chanda, OF Bolangir, OF Dehu Road, OF Itarsi, OF Khamaria, OF Nalanda, OF Varangaon; Vehicles -- Engine Factory Avadi, Heavy Vehicle Factory Avadi, Machine Tool Prototype Factory Ambernath, OF Medak, Vehicle Factory Jabalpur; Weapons & Equipment -- Field Gun Factory Kanpur, Gun Carriage Factory Jabalpur, Gun and Shell Factory Cossipore, OF Kanpur, OF Project Korwa, OF Tiruchirapalli, Rifle Factory Ishapore, Small Arms Factory Kanpur. Troop Comfort Items -- Ordnance Clothing Factory Avadi, Ordnance Clothing Factory Shahjahanpur, Ordnance Equipment Factory Kanpur, Ordnance Equipment Factory Hazratpur; Ancillary -- Grey Iron Foundry Jabalpur, Metal and Steel Factory Ishapore, OF Ambernath, OFAj, OF Bhusawal, OF Dumdum, OF Katni, OF Muradnagar; Opto-electronics -- OF Chandigarh, OF Dehradun, Opto-Electronics Factory Dehradun; and Parachute -- Ordnance Parachute Factory Kanpur.