The government has denied a news report, which claimed a man who worked for building ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 launchpad, has been selling idlis at a roadside stall in Ranchi to make ends meet. The report by the BBC said that Deepak Kumar Uprariya worked as a technician in HEC (Heavy Engineering Corporation Limited) and has now set up a shop opposite the Old Legislative Assembly in the Dhurwa area of Ranchi. It also claimed that HEC, which made the folding platform and sliding door for Chandrayaan-3, did not pay his salary for 18 months.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Press Information Bureau’s (PIB) fact-check unit has said that the headline of the BBC article is “misleading”.
▶️ यह हेडलाइन भ्रामक है pic.twitter.com/vvYXD8n1ST
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) September 18, 2023
In a subsequent post, the government handle said that HEC did not make any component for Chandrayaan-3, and only supplied some infrastructure to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) between 2003 and 2010.
The BBC report also mentioned that about 2,800 employees have claimed that they have not received their salaries for the past 18 months, like Mr Upariya.
Mr Upariya was quoted as saying by the outlet that he has been managing his shop and office work together. The technician sells idlis in the morning and goes to the office in the afternoon. In the evening, he sells idlis again before heading back home.
The man even claimed that he took a loan but failed to pay it back so people have stopped giving him money.
As per the BBC, Mr Uprariya belongs to Harda district of Madhya Pradesh. In 2012, he quit his job in a private company and joined HEC on a salary of Rs 8,000.
Kanchan Gupta, senior advisor to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said on X that HEC, registered under Companies Act, is a separate legal entity and has to aggressively generate its own resources, like BHEL.
HEC has NOT made any component for Chandrayaan 3.
HEC did some work for ISRO between September 2003 and January 2010.
— Kanchan Gupta 🇮🇳 (@KanchanGupta) September 17, 2023
He also posted the screenshot of Minister of State for Heavy Industries Krishan Pal Gurjar in Parliament where he confirmed that HEC was not assigned any work related to Chandrayaan-3 and only supplied some infrastructure items.