TWO workers were killed in an accidental blast at the Ammunition Factory, Khadki, (AFK) in Pune on Thursday morning. The blast took place in a section of the factory where initiator fuses are manufactured and stored, said officials. As per the information given by police and defence officials, the blast took place at 9.20 am in building block number 171, located in F2 section of the British-era factory. The incident took place when the two workers were transferring some explosives in a box to another block.
“The explosives are very sensitive and can be triggered by a small change in pressure or temperature,” said an officer from AFK. “Initially, there were four persons in the block who were on the job, but two of them went out for breakfast. The two deceased workers have been identified as Ashok Dubal (52) and Marya Rock (48). Both are permanent workers of the factory. They sustained severe burn injuries and were rushed to the factory hospital, where they were declared dead,” added the officer.
The F2 block is located in the Danger Building (DB) area of the factory, said an officer. The two workers killed in the accident were wearing protective suits, gloves and safety shoes, he said. “But the intensity of the explosion was so high that they sustained severe burn injuries all over their bodies. They were unrecognisable…” said the officer. “After the incident, the situation was very tense within the factory premises, and the administration was apprehensive about the possibility of the workers reacting violently. So much so that when Chief General Manager SC Vishwakarma visited the spot, he was accompanied by armed guards from the Defence Security Corps,” said an officer.
Authorities from AFK said, “Military explosive experts were called to the spot after an incident and an inquiry will be conducted about the cause of the mishap”. AFK, a key manufacturing unit of the Ordnance Factory Board, mainly manufactures cartridges (bullets) for firearms used by security agencies, grenades, mortar shells, mines, rockets, as well as cartridges for civilian use. The two workers, Dubal and Rock, lived in the ammunition factory quarters in Khadki.
Rock is a native of Tamil Nadu and is survived by his wife and a child. On hearing news of the accident, his wife’s health deteriorated and she had to be hospitalised. Dubal is survived by his wife, mother, two sons and a daughter. Member of Parliament Anil Shirole visited the ammunition factory and held a meeting with senior officials, including Vishwakarma, and Assistant General Managers R K Sharma and N P Naik. In a press statement, Shirole said that the incident was unfortunate, and families of the victims would be given all possible help and compensation.