HAL employees meet Rahul Gandhi, raise issue of denial of Rafale order
New Delhi, A delegation of employees from Defence public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Thursday claimed that the NDA government has denied the Transfer of Technology (ToT) to HAL in the Rafale combat aircraft deal, denying the organisation an opportunity to grow in the global defence technology space. The HAL delegation, under the banner of HAL Welfare Forum and including some former HAL employees' union functionaries, also met the Congress President Rahul Gandhi here and apprised him of the state of affairs prevailing in the defence PSU which badly needs orders from the government and armed forces to keep it going. Later, addressing a press conference the employees claimed that HAL and the French Dassault Aviation which manufactures Rafale jets had signed the mutual workshare agreement and the Defence PSU was willing and ready to guarantee the Rafale fighter jets. Quoting former HAL chief T Suvarna Raju, the representatives said when HAL can build a 25-tonne Sukhkoi-30, a fourth generation jet from the raw material stage, then there was no difficulty in making Rafale jets. They challenged the government to make the details of `workshare agreement' with Dassault worth Rs 36,000 crore public which would unravel the truth. Former chief coordinator of HAL Employees Unions S Renuka contradicted Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's statement in Parliament that the total orders given to HAL were worth Rs One lakh crore.
However, on January 7 she said that between 2014 and 2018 only orders worth Rs 26,570 crore have been given to HAL and orders worth Rs 73,000 crores were merely at ``Request for Proposal' (RFP) stage. He said the book order to HAL upto March 31, 2018 was Rs 61,000 crore and the PSU had delivered orders worth Rs 67,000 crores between 2014-18. He alleged that there is a systematic conspiracy to bleed and shut down HAL by the present government which has not paid HAL Rs 14,000 crores for the aircraft and choppers already delivered to the armed forces. Mr. Renuka said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of HAL's new helicopter factory in Tumkur, Karnataka but even after three years the factory is yet to take off and no jobs have been created. On the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), he said the LCA production had doubled not due to the effort of the present government but due to the intervention of the trade union and management's willingness to accommodate ideas of the employees.