Six people were killed and at least 11 injured in a blast near the Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) at Pulgaon town in Maharashtra’s Wardha district Tuesday morning.The explosion took place at a fenced blasting site, when boxes of unserviceable ammunition, brought in from the Ordnance Factory Khamaria near Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh and meant for controlled destruction, were being unloaded.
A defence official said that as the Ordnance Factory in Khamaria does not have the adequate facility needed for controlled destruction, it was brought for controlled destruction near CAD Pulgaon. The deceased have been identified as Vilas (40), Narayan Pachare (55) and Prabhakar Wankhede (46) from Sonegaon village; Pravin Munewar (25) and Rajkumar Bhowte (23) from Kelapur village and Uday Vir Singh, from the ordinance factory.
Group Captain Basantkumar B Pande, PRO (Defence) for the Nagpur region, said in a press statement,””On the morning of November 20, between 7.10 and 7.15 am at Sonegaon demolition/destruction area near Pulgaon, an accident occurred while staff from Ordnance Factory Khamaria, Jabalpur were disposing off unserviceable ammunition. In the accident, one employee of Ordnance Factory Khamaria and five casual labourers of the authorised contractor have suffered fatal injuries. Ten other injured have been shifted to Government Hospital in Sawangi in Wardha district. Concerned officials from Ordnance Factory, Chandrapur and Ordnance Factory, Khamaria have rushed to spot to ascertain cause of accident.”
While the number of injured according to Defence press statement issues in the afternoon was 10, the police said in the evening that the number was 11. Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, K M M Prasanna, the Inspector General of Police for Nagpur range, said, “At the initial stage, we have filed a case of accidental death pending probe into causes. A thorough inquiry will be conducted and accordingly legal action will be initiated.”
Uddipan Mukherjee, spokesperson for the Ordnance Factory Board, said, “It is a very unfortunate incident and our condolences are with the families of the deceased. All the possible help is being provided to the affected persons. A Board of Inquiry is being constituted at Ordnance Factory in Khamaria to look into the incident.”
Sonegaon villagers told The Indian Express that two contractors from Pulgaon, Ashok and Shankar Chandak, hire villagers for work that mainly comprises unloading the blast material from the carriage vehicle and lowering them into pits, where ordinance factory staffers carry out the blast.