New Delhi: The Government on Wednesday ruled out any
involvement of Left-wing extremists in the fires at ammunition
depots in West Bengal last year.
Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said during
Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha that a fire broke out in the
Ammunition Depot, Panagarh on March 26 in which about 332 tons
of ammunition worth Rs 18 crore was destroyed.
Another fire at Ammunition Point (AP), Binaguri took place
on November 20 last year, in which about 19 tons of
unserviceable ammunition and a portion of an explosive store
house were damaged.
"There was no incident of sabotage or involvement of any
external non-state action," he said when asked if there was an
involvement of Maoist in the incidents.
He said measures have been taken to avoid recurrence of
such incidents in future and added that three levels of
security are being provided at the ammunition depots and
storage space augmented.
Rs 1,736 crore have been sanctioned since 1999 for
ammunition storage accommodation, he said adding space
constraint is one of the reasons for fires.
The minister cited electrical short-circuits, internal
combustions and accidental explosion as reasons for the fires.
"Modernisation of Army Ordnance depots including
improvement of safety and security instructions is an on-going
process," he added.