Nalanda ordnance factory starts after four-year delay

January 14th, 2009 - 2:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 14 (IANS) Work at the Nalanda ordnance factory in Bihar has got underway after a four-year delay, an official said here. The original plan to start the factory to make propellants for heavy calibre artillery to be used in Bofors guns, was scuppered as its partner firm got embroiled in corruption charges.Work to start the factory in Nalanda, 90 km from state capital Patna, had been stalled in 2005 due to corruption charges against its South African collaborator Denel (Pvt) Ltd. The company was later blacklisted by the government.

But now, the factory’s general manager Bhoop Singh said Tuesday: “Uncertainty on the project is over. Finally the production plants of Nalanda ordnance factory have got underway.”

He said work on three units in the factory had resumed and the fourth unit would start by March.

The global tender for the fourth unit - for production of BMCS (bi-modular charge system) worth Rs.1,200 crore (Rs.12 billion or $247 million) - has been awarded to Israeli firm IMI. The tender was floated last year.

Bhoop Singh said the central government had approved the revised estimate of the project. The cost had escalated due to delay in the opening. The project was revived in August 2006 but was then delayed.

The foundation stone of the project was laid in 1999. It is the 40th ordnance factory in India and the first in Bihar.

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