DRDO asked to pay Rs 3L each to kin of victims of blast

The NHRC has asked the DRDO to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to the next of kin of eight persons who were killed when a shell exploded at Chandipur Range in Orissa about nine years ago.

Updated: Oct 21, 2010, 22:42 PM IST

New Delhi: The NHRC has asked the DRDO to
pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to the next of kin of
eight persons who were killed when a shell exploded at
Chandipur Range in Orissa about nine years ago, blaming
negligence on part of DRDO officials for the incident.

"The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has
recommended three lakhs rupees each to the next of kin of the
eight persons, who died when a live bomb exploded in Chandipur
Range in Balasore district, Orissa on the July 26, 2002. Three
persons were also injured in the incident," Commission said in
a statement today.

"The Commission is of the considered view that the
incident in question took place due to some negligence at some
point of time on the part of the officials of the DRDO/PXE
range.....hence, the affected persons must be compensated," it
added.

The Commission made the recommendation on Tuesday,
asking the Defence Secretary to submit a compliance report
along with proof of payment within eight weeks.

The Commission rejected the DRDO`s stand that the
incident in question could not be attributed to it since it
was brought to its notice.

"It (DRDO) also said that it is not possible to
enclose the range area by fencing etc and possibility of a
shell getting lost may be there despite efforts to collect 100
per cent shells during the test firing," the Commission noted.

Describing DRDO`s stand as "contradictory", the
Commission observed that "it is strange that the DRDO remained
oblivious of this incident till the year 2009 despite the news
report and the first notice issued in the matter by the
Commission to Defence Secretary on the December 19, 2002."

On consideration of reports and materials on record,
the Commission noted that the `BLINDS` (explosives) which
exploded and killed eight persons was picked up by the
victims from the Proof and Experimental Establishment range
area and it belonged to the DRDO and no other agency.

"There was some negligence on the part of Army
personnel in collection of all the shells fired during the
test firing at the range. Also there does not appear to have
been any proper arrangement for preventing access to the
site by the villagers who collected and used shells for
extracting metal out of the same, and this is to the knowledge
of the authorities concerned...," it noted.

"In this scenario, the duty of the DRDO officials
becomes even more onerous to collect the BLINDS absolutely,"
the Commission added.

-PTI