Questions are being raised about the alleged safety violations at defence establishments in the country by defence experts. A major fire followed by blast occurred at India’s biggest Central Ammunition Depot Pulgaon in adjoining Wardha district has claimed the lives of 18 jawans , two officers whereas 17 jawans and two officers sustained injuries. After this incident, questions are being raised about the alleged safety violations at these defence facilities in the country. Pulgaon is home to the biggest stockpile of weapons including Brahmos missiles. The cause of the blaze is not yet known but fire-fighting operations by the defence fire brigade are underway in full swing. In the recent years local politicians have been pressurising the Defence department to relax the restrictions imposed on constructions in the vicinity of defence establishments.
Retired Col Abhayvardhan said, “The cause behind the fire will be known after investigation. A possibility of sabotage like the one which occurred in Pathankot attack incident can’t be ruled out.”
Officials entered the ammunition depot for dousing the fire as two major explosions occurred which claimed the lives of Lt Colonel R.S Pawar and Major Manoj K.
Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar rushed to the spot to take cognisance of the incident. He also went to the hospital for meeting injured soldiers. He said, “We have ordered for a probe into this incident. The reason behind the accident can be ascertained only after the completion of investigation. There are lesser possibilities of sabotage.”
Hansraj Bhat an avid reader said, “I strongly doubt sabotage by Pakistan-backed terror group behind the fire which erupted at India’s biggest arms depot at Pulgaon. The mastermind behind this cunning strategy must be ISI and the Pakistani army for the obvious, known reasons.”
Defence expert RSN Singh said that the Army is looking at all possibilities into the Pulgaon fire incident and all angles will be left opened.
They will probe whether there was a foul play in the case.
After the blast two villages had to be completely evacuated. The impact of the explosion was so serious that the roofs of the houses in adjoining villages had collapsed. Even pillars of some houses had fallen as people had to abandon their houses. Two fire engines had reached at the accident spot for dousing the fire even those vehicles were damaged due to explosion.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “It’s an unfortunate incident. We are providing primarily medical assistance. I spoke to Wardha collector and took stock of the situation. I have instructed him to provide all required help in this situation. I have also asked collectors of the neighbouring districts to remain alert.”
The damage to assets of defence and fatalities, if any are being ascertained, officials requesting anonymity said.
Local eyewitnesses said that there were multiple explosions after a blaze due to unknown reasons at the defence depot around 1.30 a.m. on Tuesday. According to one of the injured persons, the cause of the explosion could be unused and old bombs which were meant to be disposed
Pulgaon is situated around 40 km from Wardha, the district headquarters, which is 80 kms from Nagpur.