Engineers who built Chandrayaan-3 launch pad did not get paid for 17 months

Chandrayaan 3: ISRO's moon mission lifts off into space.

Ranchi: As the entire country and world witnessed India’s ‘Moon Mission’ taking another realistic step last week with the launch of Chandrayaan-3, the workforce that played an instrumental role in the successful launch of the ‘Bahubali’ rocket into the space was cheering despite not receiving salaries for over a year now.

The engineers of Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) in Ranchi, despite not being paid for the past 17 months, left no stone unturned to complete the work order received from ISRO for Chandrayaan-3.

The firm delivered the mobile launching pad, among other crucial and complex equipment, in December 2022 ahead of schedule, even as the staff including the engineers, senior officials and workers have been going unpaid.

The HEC is a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Heavy Industries located in Ranchi’s Dhurwa area. It has been learnt that the HEC has been facing a financial crisis for the last two-three years.

Over 3,000 engineers and workers employed work with the HEC, and they have not been paid for the last 17 months. Subhash Chandra, an engineer who was among those who cheered the successful launch of Chandrayaan-3, said: “The HEC personnel held their heads once again with pride. We are happy that we are partners in such an important project of the country.”

According to sources, the HEC has requested the Ministry of Heavy Industries several times to provide working capital of Rs 1,000 crore.

The Ministry, however, has apparently submitted that the GoI cannot extend any help.

Meanwhile, the debts have increased to such an extent that employees are not getting paid. In fact, for the last two and a half years, there has been no appointment of any permanent CMD in the HEC .

India’s ‘Bahubali’ rocket successfully put the moon spacecraft — Chandrayaan-3 — into the orbit on Friday afternoon in a copybook style. The heavy rocket, launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, slung the 3.8 tonne Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into its intended Earth orbit. The total project cost is about Rs 615 crore.

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