After fires, government plans to upgrade ordnance depot storage

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Following recent incidents of ordnance depot fires, the government is planning to upgrade the storage facilities as well as considering underground storage of the ammunition to reduce the risk, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Answering supplementary questions from members, including Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena), Parrikar said the government is aware of the “inherent” risky proposition around ordnance depots and “that too in thickly populated urban areas”.

“Most of the ordnance depots are storage facilities which were created many years ago when there was no population around. I myself am aware of such areas like Dehu Road (in Maharashtra) and I used to travel on that road about 30 years back. There was hardly any population around that ordnance depot then,” he said, adding that as population has increased in the vicinity, this has added to problems lately.

“We are trying to find out solutions to the issue. First, improve the storage facility, go for upgraded storage facilities and go for underground, so that the risk itself reduces and better storage improvement takes place,” he said. This will require additional expenditure, he noted.

The government is examining these options, he said and maintained that it is also “considering the distance parameter” from depots to ensure safety.

An expert committee is reviewing the situation based on the “international norms”, Parrikar said.

Members, including Kalyan Banerjee of Trinamool Congress, expressed concern over fire accidents happening from time to time in and around ordinance depots.



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