Countering some of the claims made in an internal recommendation report of the Indian Army shared with the Defence Ministry about accidents due to faulty ammunition produced by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the OFB said in a statement on Wednesday that it “does not accept the figures” mentioned.
The Army’s internal report had mentioned that nearly Rs 960 crore had been lost due to OFB’s faulty ammunition, and 27 soldiers and civilians had lost their lives in more than 400 accidents since 2014.
The OFB said on Wednesday that “for the accidents that occurred in the period between January 2015 to December 2019, where defect investigation has been completed, only 19% of the cases are attributable to OFB”.
Explaining the differing reasons that can result in accidents, it stated that “accidents are complex phenomena and can have multiple causes such as poor gun maintenance, faulty firing drill, un-validated design changes in the weapon, faulty ammunition design among others”.
The committee looking into defect investigations, it said, includes “representatives of all the stakeholders including the user” and they are “seldom holistic in nature despite the fact that OFB has been insisting on such an approach”.
The OFB said that of the “total number of accidents where defect investigation has been completed, only 2 per cent of the cases where casualties have been reported are attributable to the OFB”, whereas in 98 per cent of the cases “where there have been casualties, these are not attributable to OFB”.
There have been more than 125 accidents between 2011 and 2018, the OFB mentioned in its statement, “involving ammunition procured from sources other than OFB, both domestic and foreign”. It said “most of these accidents involve vintage ammunition manufactured prior to 2006 when inspection of all input materials was undertaken” by the Directorate General of Quality Assurance under the Defence Ministry, and “OFB had no control on the quality of input material”.
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