Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 14 : Defence Minister A.K. Antony who hails from Kerala is irked by the "attitude" of the people in the state towards defence industries. He said that defence units cannot be run like any other industry.
Antony's remark had its first affect when former Congress legislator George Mercier, a trade union leader, stepped down from the leadership of the party-backed Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC).
"Till 2011, I got in six units of my department into Kerala but now I don't have the courage to get another one into Kerala because the attitude towards defence establishments here is not proper. A defence unit cannot be treated like any other industry," said Antony, while speaking at the BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (BATL) here.
Antony is deeply upset after a controversy broke out when the employees of a defence unit came out in the open seeking a clarification from him on the status of the company.
"Every time my close friend Chief Minister Oommen Chandy meets me, he seeks more support from me, but honestly something is wrong somewhere. I am helpless because I can't sort out the issues here and I do not know how it can be sorted out also," added Antony.
Incidentally, it was Antony who took the lead and in March 2007 the state government handed over Kerala Hi-tech Industries Limited (Keltec) to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
It made way for BrahMos Aerospace - a joint venture company between the DRDO and the Russian government. The company has emeregd as one of the leading missile integration and defence production units in the country.
For sometime things remained calm but now the unions are up in arms and they feel this is a private company. It is this attitude that has irked Antony.
Antony was here to launch the integration of the air version of supersonic missiles at the BATL here.