This is not the first of its kind, and will definitely not be the last if army continues to be lenient in its safety standards at the ammunition depots. Two army officers, and atleast 15 defence security, and army jawans were killed when a fire broke out during Monday night at the central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, near Nagpur, Maharashtra. In fact lack of proper storage facilities, fire-fighting measures, and defective ammunition, and lax in security are some of the many reasons that are making the ammunition depots vulnerable to accidents.
In fact the Pulgaon depot is Asia’s largest such depot and houses weapons, explosives and ammunition. And it is not any normal store house with simple ammunition. It stores range from Brahmos missile to rifle bullets and supplies to the Indian army through smaller depots. This is the second such fire in a year; the last one was on March 22, 2005 causing a loss of Rs 22 crore, but evidently lessons were not learnt.
According to some reports atleast 3000 crore worth of ammunition has been destroyed due to fire accidents in various depots since 2000. Evidently not much is being done to handle the problem of fire. And this is despite the several fire fighting systems that are mandatory for an ammunition depot. Only enquiries will reveal if the Pulgaon depot followed the standards.