NEW DELHI: The Comptroller and Auditor General, in its latest report tabled in Parliament on Friday, blamed the Centre for inordinate delay in indigenisation of all-weather, high-mobility Tatra vehicles and Army’s main battle tanks.
Tatra, the vehicle used most extensively for mounting missiles and radars by the Army, was being imported from Czechoslovakia since 1969 and to attain self-reliance and effect savings in foreign exchange, the government in 1983 decided to indigenise the production of these vehicles.
A Defence public sector undertaking, Bharat Earth Movers Limited, accordingly signed a collaboration agreement with M/s Omnipol (OEM) in 1986 with an objective to attain 86 per cent indigenisation by 1991.
“However, in 2014, the target is yet to be attained. The BEML attributed the delay mainly to the failure of the ministry in placing orders for sufficient number of vehicles between 1986 and 1991. We, however, found that the delay in process of indigenisation of Tatra vehicles was due to lack of clear long-term projection of orders by Army to BEML, though the Army had procured 7,942 vehicles during this period. As a result, the objective of self-reliance in production of these vehicles was defeated,”the CAG observed. Tatra trucks were in the news after a retired Army officer offered `14 crore bribe to then Army chief General V K Singh to clear further orders.
Meanwhile, the CAG also observed that the domestic production of main battle tanks for the Army did not meet the schedule planned for timely fulfillment of the Army’s needs. “The production of main battle tank (MBT) Arjun was derailed due to frequent changes in design, contrary to the assurance in 2004 that the design had been frozen. Introduction of new requirements not envisaged in the original requirements by the Army led to dismantling of already manufactured MBTs” the CAG pointed out.