Blast at Central Ammunition Depot at Pulgaon
Multi-tier system of Safety Audit and Quality Audit is already in existence for assuring quality of ammunition and compliance of safety norms in the process of manufacture. In addition to this, for defect noticed at production stage, detailed investigation is carried out by Failure Review Board (FRB), one of the members of which is from Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) whereas in case of defects at customer end, if any, AHSP (Authority Holding Sealed Particulars) carries out defect investigation in association with the concerned Ordnance Factory to find out the exact cause of defect and suggest remedial measures. Further, ammunition store is supplied only after ensuring quality requirements by DGQA as per relevant Specifications, Inspection Schedules, Proof Schedule and carrying out Tests as per Acceptance Test Procedure (ATP).
The accident was not due to sub-standard ammunition. A team of officials from Ordnance Factory Khamaria (OFK) was deputed to Central Ammunition Depot (CAD), Pulgaon from 19.11.2018 to 08.12.2018 for demolition of old / unserviceable / obsolete / rejected ammunition under technical supervision of CAD, Pulgaon. On 20.11.2018, ammunition boxes containing unserviceable ammunition were being unloaded and shifted from the vehicle to the demolition pit. During this shifting, one of the boxes fell down and exploded.
There is no such incidence of accident due to technical fault of ordnances manufactured at Khamaria in the last three years. As such, demolition of unserviceable / rejected / surplus / obsolete ammunition is a regular practice being undertaken by Central Ammunition Depot (CAD), Pulgaon to dispose of accumulated ammunition which cannot be issued to the Armed Forces.
This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Husain Dalwai in Rajya Sabha on 4 February.
The massive blaze in Central Ammunition Depot, (CAD) Pulgaon in Wardha District in Maharashtra a State in Western India on 31 May 2016 brought to limelight necessity for accident free management of ammunition in the Indian Armed Forces. The focus has been mainly on flaws in storage of ammunition; however detailed review of the accident now that adequate information is available denotes necessity for a systems approach with a view to holistic ammunition management in the armed forces and more particularly the Indian Army.