New Delhi: The Prime Minister assured of big investments but instead took away our money, representatives of the workers’ union of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited claimed in a press conference held in the capital on Thursday.
Union members of HAL, who claimed to be representing over 10,000 workers at HAL’s Bangalore plant, also demanded that the PSU be made a partner of Dassault Aviation, not just an offset partner.
The employees said that they had met Rahul Gandhi on Thursday morning in an attempt to get him to raise their issue in days to come.
The HAL employees claimed that the decision to not allow a Transfer-of-Technology clause in the renewed deal under which 36 Rafale jets had been bought, had adversely hit the 78-year-old PSU.
“When in their annual report Dassault chairperson had claimed that HAL was its partner, when Dassault and HAL had signed mutual workshare agreement, when HAL can build a 25 tonne Sukhoi, then what was the difficulty in making Rafale jets,” Renuka, one of the HAL employees said in the press conference.
He added, “In a meeting with us Narendra Modi had assured us of Rs 5000 crore investments, but what actually happened is that not only did that money not come to us, the government actually siphoned off money from our reserves. They are taking away our dividends at such time.”
So dire has the situation become, he added, that HAL has had to borrow money from the bank to pay salaries of its employees.
A statement issued by the employees of HAL also suggested that the recent statement made by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament that Rs 73,000 crore of orders for HAL were in the pipeline was misleading.
“We have total orders worth Rs 1.28 lakh crore. Of this Rs 26,570 crore of orders have come from the Modi government. This effectively means that HAL is running only on the orders of the UPA.”
K Satish, another union member of employee union of HAL who was present at the press conference, added, “Against our demand for Rs 19,334 crore only Rs 6415 crore was given to us, this is why we had to borrow money to pay our employees’ salaries. On the contrary Modi government has withdrawn Rs 11024 crore from HAL. In 2015-16 Defence Minister ordered an ‘equity buyback scheme’ that required HAL to transfer Rs 6393 crore to the government.”