Soon after a new combat uniform was unveiled by the 13-lakh strong Army, a major battle has erupted over who will manufacture them. Employees of the state-owned ordnance clothing factories (OCFs) contend they should get the mega contract, while the Army wants an open tender with private companies also in the fray to ensure soldiers get the best possible camouflage fatigues at the cheapest rates.
The new combat uniform with a “digital disruptive pattern”, ergonomically-designed in consultation with the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), was showcased for the first time during the Army Day parade on January 15.
OCF employees, especially the ones at the Avadi factory, allege the Union government and the Army are favouring the private sector over the public entities once again.
“For the ordnance factories to survive, they need orders. The OCFs have the wherewithal to design and manufacture combat uniforms,” an employee said. As it is, they are unhappy with the “corporatisation” of the mammoth Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which was split into seven entities last year.