Sanctioned by President on September 6, 1961, at an estimated cost of Rs 17.40 Lakh, the factory commenced manufacturing of uniforms on November 1, 1961

CHENNAI: Ordnance Clothing Factory Avadi will be marking its diamond jubilee with the launch of 'Diamond Jubilee Pillar' at VKK Menon Kalyana Mandapam and Convention Centre here on Tuesday.

Armoured Vehicle Ammunition Depot of India (AVADI) was earmarked for commissioning the Ordnance Clothing Factory, the first-of-its-kind in South India in 1961 by the then defence minister VKK Menon. The war situation prevailing in 1961 between India and China necessitated the commissioning of the fourth clothing factory for the defence preparedness of the nation, says Santosh Kumar Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director of the Troop Comforts Limited.

Currently, OCF, Avadi, is a part of Defence PSU Troop Comforts Limited, a Government of India enterprise under the Ministry of Defence, from October 1, 2021, having its headquarters at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. "We have four units under the Defence PSU Troop Comforts Limited, meeting huge demands of clothing of the armed forces and paramilitary forces. The other three are in Hazratpur, Kanpur, and Shahjahanpur," Sinha said.

Sanctioned by President of India on September 6, 1961, at an estimated cost of `17.40 Lakh, the factory commenced manufacturing of uniforms on November 1, 1961. Later on June 2, 1962, "Parachute Production Unit" was installed at an estimated cost of `21.95 Lakh.

Initially, the factory was given the load of manufacturing simple and conventional garments like shirts, shorts, trousers, dungarees, bag kit universal and caps for the three services. Since then the production has been diversified to sophisticated items like tents, supply dropping parachutes and Overall Flying for the Pilots. During the 1970s, major Army requirements of winter clothing-shirts, mosquito net, and cover water proof were met by this factory.

The lion's share of Army's requirements of Combat Uniforms, Overall Combination Disruptive and Overalls of various shades for Navy was productionised during the 1980s. The 1990s paved the way for polyester or cotton blends, vests for Army, danger-building uniforms and more elegant forms of tents like Tent Arctic Large.

OCF also exported Casual wear (Shirts and Jackets) to the United States and middle-eastern countries between 1993-1996. It was subsequently awarded the INAME award from Mexican Government.

As a measure of product diversification, Development of Bullet Resistant Jacket (BRJ) were undertaken during December 2017, with very short span of three months initial prototype was launched during Ordnance Factory Day (March 18, 2018). OCF Avadi became a part of National Standardisation Body (BIS) and played a vital role in framing Indian standards for Bullet Resistant Jacket (BRJ). First supply of BRJ handed over to Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu Police, on August 11, 2020, during the celebration of "Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan" week. Similarly, Ballistic Helmet has been developed and launched on December 13, 2021 at OCF Avadi.

From next year, OCF Avadi is planning to go in for exports with a target of `10 crore. "We will focus on the middle-east and southeast Asia," said Sinha and highlighted the role played by OCF Avadi in providing Personal protective Equipment to combat Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, OCF is working on lighter uniforms as well as going in for digital printing and anti-bacteria camouflaged dress for troops.