NAINITAL: 16 July, 2015
Residents of Jaspur in Udham Singh Nagar here, have been living atop the proverbial tinderbox, with more than 500 missiles, mortar shells and high-explosive ordnance lying around in a scrap heap for the past 11 years.
The missiles and shells are part of a consignment of scrap purchased by a local steel factory in 2004. Local residents claim that some of the missiles and shells are still live and need to be properly disposed. However, officials stated that they were unaware of the proper disposal method. Moreover, a precautionary cover of three policemen deputed to the site has recently been called over.
Nilesh Anand Bharney, SSP, Udham Singh Nagar told TOI, "Departmental procedures related to the disposal of the material are almost complete. We have spoken to the National Security Guard (NSG) and money for the work has also been sanctioned. The ordnance will be disposed of shortly."
After a worker of a steel factory in Kashipur died in an explosion while melting scrap which happened to have live ordnance in 2004, 555 such missiles and shells were discovered at the scrapyard of the steel factory. The consignment was reportedly purchased by the factory's owners from Tughlakabad, Delhi.
After the explosion killed the worker and damaged houses in the area nearby known as Awas Vikas Colony, all the ordnance was quietly buried in Patrampur. Security cover was also provided at the site to prevent any untoward incident.
Later, in 2007, a combined team of experts from Delhi and Maharashtra visited the site and suggested immediate disposal at some secluded place to avoid any damage to local residents. An amount of Rs 2.25 lakh was also sanctioned to carry out the operation which, however, never materialized. A team of National Security Guards (NSG), while visiting the district, suggested an isolated forest area besides the Fika river near here for proper disposal, but it was never carried out.
On July 12 this year, residents of the area met the SSP and requested him to remove or dispose the "hazardous explosives" from the spot, citing danger to their lives and property. The district police chief visited the spot and assured the people that the ordnance would be disposed of shortly.
"It's been 11 years since the explosion. It is shocking that the police department, district administration and even the state government failed to wake up to the danger. People around here have been living in fear ever since. This needs to be solved immediately," a local resident told TOI under condition of anonymity.
Courtesy: Times Of India