The INTUC-backed BrahMos Staff Association has urged Defence Minister A K Antony to convert the BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL) into a public sector undertaking unit under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
In a memorandum to the Defence Minister, the association reminded that the State Government-owned Kerala Hi-Tech Industries Ltd (KELTEC) was taken over in 2007 to form BATL for making it a chief manufacturing unit for the BrahMos cruise missiles.
Although a Missile Integration Complex (MIC) was added in November 2012 at a cost of Rs 50 crore, it is yet to be fully operational, association general secretary Shaji M said. The association alleged that the a senior officer who was appointed head of MIC was later transferred to administration to slow down the activities of the MIC. The management of BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL), the parent company which is a joint venture of Russia and India, is ignoring the Thiruvananthapuram unit. The situation is such that the company has to compete with firms like L&T and Godrej even for getting work orders to manufacture the containers for the missile.
The status of the unit, created by taking over KELTEC for a token Re 1, has been a contentious issue. The employees have for long contended that the government had given them the impression that BATL would be a PSU. BrahMos authorities had come out with the clarification that it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BAPL.