Millennium Post

Artillery worth Rs 2,000 cr kept in storage found unfit

In a classic case of ignorance, missiles and explosives worth more than Rs 2,000 crores (approx) were kept in those storages, which did not adhere to the Space Test and Engineering Contract’s (STEC) guidelines under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The startling revelation came during a CAG audit and ‘shook’ the NDA government with the fact that how the previous government took India’s defence as a ‘joke’. At a time when neighboring countries are flexing muscles by violating ceasefire or by building state of the art facilities in the bordering areas, such ‘disclosures’ came as a rude shock for the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

Sources said, Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was asked by the PM to take immediate action for a proper storage of these armaments. He was also asked to submit a detailed report on why Equipment Deports (ED) were not made as per STEC guidelines and asked to verify the environment clauses, while building such storages.

It was learnt that out of eight EDs, the national auditor has selected only four sheds (one at each depot located in the southern and central part of India) and found that they belong to the era of pre 1954 vintage. Shockingly, missiles and explosives were found to be kept in those storages, which had developed multiple cracks on walls, pillars, roof, floor and platforms.

As per experts, missiles, explosives and other armaments require proper controlled climatic conditions but none of the four sheds found to be fit for such expensive storage. “There should be a percentage of moisture, humidity, cooling etc while keeping such delegate missiles. If it was not followed then the precision and impact of such armaments will be affected. Also, this could lead to a huge loss to nation’s money,” government sources said.

MoD has a huge inventory of sophisticated equipment and weapons which include aircraft, helicopters, missiles, explosives stores. With the induction of advanced aircrafts, more sophisticated air armament stores including rockets, bombs, missiles, etc. are required to be stored in high quality, dust free and a temperature controlled environment.

Not the least, it was also found that in some of the EDs fire fighting facilities were made without following STEC guidelines and in some areas the ED is located in densely populated areas, which again is a gross violation of government rules.

“The MoD has accepted some lapses in terms of storage and they are working on it. There are some environment and land issues, which we are hopeful to solve soon,” government sources said.
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