Friday, January 11, 2019

NDA conspiracy to ‘bleed and shut down’ HAL: Workers

New Delhi: A group of HAL employees on Thursday alleged a conspiracy by the NDA government to “bleed and shut down” the state-run aerospace major, and demanded that it be given the contract for making the remaining tranche of 90 Rafale aircraft not as offset partners, but under the Transfer of Technology (ToT) route.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi after they met Congress President Rahul Gandhi over the issue, the employees accused defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “attempting to build a false narrative” that HAL is incapable of building the Rafale fighter jet. Speaking to TOI, a worker in HAL’s aeroengines department, Vijay Kumar, said, “HAL is the force behind the Indian Air Force without which our country would not have won wars. It is really hurtful that the defence minister is making statements that put in doubt this institution’s capabilities.”

Renuka S, former general secretary and former chief convenor of the All India Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Trade Union Coordination Committee, also said that while the government’s claim — that it had provided works orders of over Rs 26,000 crore to HAL — was correct, this was not enough to support a strategic sector like HAL. “There is a systematic conspiracy to bleed and shut down HAL by the present government. The present government has paid Rs 20,000 crore in advance for buying the Rafale to Dassault Aviation without delivery of a single aircraft. On the other hand, HAL has not been paid Rs 14,000 crore for aircraft, helicopters that have already been delivered,” he said.

11/01/19 Swati Mathur/Times of India

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