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Slowly but carefully,Army disposes of live explosives brought with scrap

Delhi is finally getting rid of the 3,500 live explosives that landed in the country with scrap from either Afghanistan or Iraq sometime since 2004.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi |
June 4, 2011 12:22:43 am

Delhi is finally getting rid of the 3,500 live explosives that landed in the country with scrap from either Afghanistan or Iraq sometime since 2004. The munition is being transported from the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Tuglakabad,where it was stored for many years,to the Tilpat range in Faridabad amid other dangerous materials. They are being disposed of by the Indian Army’s 201 Bomb Disposal (201 BD) Squad under the Western Command.

“Operation Sahyog II was started on May 11 to detonate the explosives. The process will take a month,and more than half the work has already been done. We have disposed of 2,800 bombs so far,” said Major General Manik Sabharwal,Chief Engineer,Western Command.

“None of the bombs have any identifiable markings on them. Anyway,the origin will not change the nature of our operation.

These are dangerous bombs that could be a danger to people in the area. They collectively weigh anywhere between 500 kg and 600 kg and only the Army has the technology to diffuse them,” said Sabharwal. A power station is situated right next to the ICD.

The equipment being used for the purpose of disposing of the explosives are state-of-the-art bomb disposal suits,remote-controlled telescopic manipulators and remote-controlled vehicles,so Army bomb technicians are not exposed to danger,said Satish Warrier,Commanding Officer,201 BD.

“The munition was taken from Tughlakabad to the Tilpat range in Faridabad in a truck in small batches around 3.30 am to reduce the risk. The truck was accompanied by a fire tender and an ambulance,” said Warrier.

While questions have been raised as to why the Army is taking more than a month to dispose of the material,Warrier said the priority was on safety and not speed.

“We have five demolition pits,where we detonate the bombs in a controlled environment. In that effort,we only detonate 12 bombs at a time. Also,because of the heat,it is impossible for bomb technicians to wear the suit as the day progresses. That’s why we switch personnel every 15 minutes,and stop detonations by 9.30 am,” said Warrier.

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