New Delhi: Army will finalise the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for disposal of defective ammunition within a fixed timeframe, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told Lok Sabha today against the backdrop of a fire at an ammunition depot in Maharashtra that killed 19 people.
He said the government has approved various measures based on the recommendations by the Court of Inquiry on the fire incident at Central Ammunition Depot (COD), Pulgaon, Maharashtra on May 31 and subsequent deliberations with stakeholders.
“Ammunition storage is inherently a risky proposition,” Parrikar said, adding that risks are minimised by adapting prescribed storage norms.
During Question Hour, the Minister said the Army Headquarters in consultation with all stakeholders would finalise the SOPs for “disposal of defective ammunition in fixed time frame and fixing up responsibility for defect and regularisation of loss”.
Besides, the Department of Defence Production (DDP), after consulting stakeholders, would prepare a SOP for handholding of production agency by the designer till production stabilises.
Parrikar also said the Army Headquarters would take up “disposal of all defective segregated mines for exudation of TNT, held at various locations” while the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) would replace or repair defective ammunition within three months.
“Army Headquarters will review the security (including surveillance) and fire safety arrangements at all ammunition depots,” he added.
Responding to supplementary questions about the Pulgaon incident, Parrikar said basically it was a real accident and “no sabotage angle has been brought out”.
In the Pulgaon incident, there were 19 fatal and 17 non-fatal casualties while total loss of equipment and stores as per preliminary estimation is around Rs 7.90 crore, he noted.