THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The security of BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL), one of the leading missile integration and defence production units in the country, will be taken over by the Central Industrial Security Force by April 2018 on a Rs 30-crore annual contract. The employees fear that this will create a huge liability to the company when it has started making profit. Until now a local security agency with around 25 ex-servicemen was in charge of BATL which mainly does integration works for the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Over the last few days, CISF personnel have been inspecting the BATL office at Chackai following the defence ministry orders. It is said to be part of the ministry’s move to ward off any threat perception as ISRO’s integration unit target work worth Rs 65 crore is currently going on at BATL. It was in early 2007 that the state government handed over the erstwhile Kerala Hi-tech Industries Limited (KELTEC) to the DRDO. BrahMos Aerospace took over KELTEC to develop it as one of the leading missile integration and defence production units in the country.
While the Indian government has a stake of 50.5 percent shares, Russian Federation owns 49.5 percent in BrahMos. A top BATL official told DC that the company had done sales of Rs 48.5 crore during 2016 -17. “We are not aware of CISF taking over the security of BATL. Currently it is a local ex-servicemen security agency which provides round-the-clock security. A decision on CISF will have to come from the ministry of defence,” said the official.
However, employees allege that the CISF had asked the BATL to meet their annual contract fee of Rs 30 crore. They told DC that while the property and machinery belong to the government of India, they are considered as employees of a private company registered in the state where they are denied the benefits.
“BATL had registered a profit of Rs 1.50 crore during the current fiscal year. The company has bounced back during the last three years. So the CISF’s demand that BATL should meet the annual expenditure of its personnel is a deadly blow,” said an employee. However, Mr Sudhir Kumar Mishra, CEO and Chief Controller (R&D/Defence Research Development Organisation) of BrahMos aerospace, feigned ignorance about the move to bring CISF to man the BATL. “We can wait for some time to get things cleared,” Mr Sudhir Kumar Mishra told DC from New Delhi.