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July 19, 1999
Ordnance factories: War's back-room boys
While Indian soldiers fought Pakistani intruders on the icy heights of Himalayas, ordnance factories all over the country silently doubled their defence production to ensure that the the jawans faced no shortage of ammunition.
The ordnance factories maintained two to two-and-a-half times the normal pace of defence production during the Kargil crisis, Ordnance Factory Board Chairman D Rajagopal said while talking to newspersons in Pune last evening.
Except for the 155mm and 130mm guns, the ordnance factories supplied each and every thing required by the army, he said.
The Maharashtra group of ordnance factories deserved a special mention since they were responsible for supplying ammunition for the Bofors gun, the undisputed hero of the Kargil conflict.
Rajagopal said the ordnance factories would undertake a massive modernisation drive in the years to come with an estimated Rs 750 crore to be pumped in for it in the next three years.
These factories would also add one more member in their group when an ordnance factory at Rajgir in Bihar would commence production in the year 2003.
At present, there are 39 ordnance factories in the country.
Rajgopal said the ammunition factories also planned to make significant contributions in the civil trade by going in for the production of ''sporting ammunition''. At present, this trade is monopolised by a few countries like Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The sporting ammunition would provide a lucrative market for exports, he hoped.
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