The workers of Ordnance Factory Board will decide the date to begin an indefinite strike on July 28, but before that, they have brought the Expression of Interest cum Request for Proposal (EoI cum EFP) for the corporatisation of the OFB before the Central Vigilance Commissioner. The complaint with the CVC, filed by some former employees, said the overall architecture of the Department of Defence Production’s EOI cum RFP inviting reputed India-based consulting agencies to define the process of corporatisation is not only in-coherent and questions the capability of the DDP even to frame the correct terms of reference.

The complaint said the prequalification criteria of the consultant does not mention the research capability of the consultant, which is critical to the success of the project. “There is no clause to disqualify the consultant, who has demonstrated incapability to execute projects which were assigned to them and who were not capable of taking the project to a logical end for OFB. The EOI PQ norms flout the CVC guidelines. For an estimated value of contract ranging from ₹1.0-₹2.5 crore, the turnover of the consultant demanded is ₹50 crore . This has been done with a clear eye to favour some consultant while eliminating others,” the complaint, a copy of which is with BusinessLine said.

All India Defence Employees Federation General Secretary C Srikumar said the complaint is severe . “Workers are shocked to see that there are many irregularities in EoI cum EFP. It also says that if the selected bidder withdraws the second-highest bidder, who will be kept in communication with DPP, will be given a chance. This is against the rules. In such a scenario, the tender process should be done again,” Srikumar added.

Questions qualification

The complaint said the Value of assets of OFB is not less than ₹1,00,000 crore with more than 60,000 acres of land of 41 production units. “Will the consultant who has evaluated ₹1,000 crore be able to evaluate ₹1,00,000 crore? Clearly, something is fussy,” it said.

It said the contract terms had been drafted in a manner that it depicts the one-sided view of the decision-makers. “It brings rigidity in the terms. Ideally, the outcomes should be stated. How and why should be decided by the consultant. It should be left to the consultants whether he wants a PSU, PPP, holding corporation, a PSU under OFB, the choice should not be restricting. As long as the goals are achieved, any restrictions will limit the bandwidth of innovation by the consultant. Corporatisation is a methodology, not a goal,” the complaint said.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the three major federations, including the one affiliated with the BMS, decided to fix the date for the beginning of the indefinite strike on July 28. A strike ballot at the 41 ordnance factories, held in June, had overwhelmingly supported the idea of an indefinite strike.