Speaker Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta, on Wednesday directed the Government to conduct safety audit of all Army ammunition depots in J&K in the wake of the fire in a depot in Maharashtra which killed 17 people.
The Speaker issued the direction after National Conference MLA Devinder Rana raised the issue in the Legislative Assembly.
“These ammunition depots (in J&K) are live bombs and could be disastrous for the population living around them,” said Rana, pointing towards the treasury benches.
He said over the years huge population has settled around these depots making them vulnerable to any eventuality.
“Please issue directions to the Government for undertaking the safety audit of the ammunition depots in coordination with the Army and other agencies,” Rana demanded.
In 2007, Army’s huge ammunition depot in Khundru, Islamabad (Anantnag), caught fire resulting in killing of 20 persons and injuries to over five dozen people.
The area had witnessed massive damage to residential houses and orchards apart from loss of cattle.
The National Conference member said people owing land in the form of orchards around the depots were not allowed to venture into these orchards which was resulting in colossal (monetary) loss to the people.
“The Government is sleeping now. But when a tragedy will struck they will feel the impact,” said Rana as other members from National Conference raised hue and cry over the issue.
Initially, the speaker refused to intervene in the matter. However when Rana continued raising the issue, the Speaker directed the Government to take steps for conducting safety audit of the ammunition depots in view of the Maharashtra tragedy.
“It is the concern of the members. The Government should take notice of the issue raised by the members,” said the Speaker as National Conference members stood up in support of the demand by Rana.
After the Khundru incident the Government had assured the House that it would take up the issue with the authorities concerned for the shifting of the ammunition depots from the areas which are inhabited by people.
“The Government should seriously look into the safety measures of the ammunition depots,” the Speaker directed the Government.