Four days after Legislative Assembly Speaker asked the Jammu Kashmir government conduct safety audit of all the ammunition depots in Jammu and Kashmir, Army on Sunday declared that all its ammunition depots across the state were safe.
“Army is sensitive to the issue of safety measures in ammunition depots located in Jammu and Kashmir,’’ said a defence ministry spokesperson Colonel S D Goswami based at Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur.
Regular safety audits are undertaken and the latest one has been ordered on June 2 this year,’’ he added.
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Rubbishing questions being raised among certain quarters on deficiency of essential fire fighting equipment, the spokesperson said that adequate fire fighting equipment and measures are in place.
Modern equipment is being regularly procured to upgrade safety measures,’’ he said, adding “the fire services staff is completely rehearsed in their role’’.
The Army places the highest priority on safety of civilians living in the vicinity of ammunition depots,’’ the spokesperson said, adding that “all measures are being taken to ensure the highest standards of security’’.
Early this week, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta had asked the state government to conduct safety audit of all ammunition depots of the army in view of the fire at one such depot inMaharastra killing 17 army men.
The direction followed raising of the issue by opposition National Conference MLA Devender Singh Rana who described the ammunition depots as “live bombs’’ saying these could be disastrous for population living around them. Over the years, huge population has settled around these depots, he said, asking the Speaker to issue directions to the government for undertaking their safety audit.
In 2007, twenty people had died in ammunition depot fire at Khundru in Anantnag, he pointed out. As other National Conference members too joined the issue with Rana, Speaker asked the government to take note of it.