President Mukherjee condoles deaths in Wardha Army depot inferno

New Delhi : President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday offered his condolences to the families of the defence personnel, who died in the massive inferno at the central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Wardha district of Maharashtra and called upon the state government to provide all possible aid to the bereaved families as well as medical assistance to the injured.

“I am sad to know about the massive fire at the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon, Wardha district of Maharashtra, in which some persons have lost their lives and many others are injured. I understand rescue as well as relief operations are currently underway. My thoughts and prayers are with the injured and the families who have lost their near and dear ones,” the President said in a message to Maharashtra Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the inferno has risen from 16 to 19 today.

The 19 deceased Army personnel include- two officers, four Defence Security Corp (DSC) jawans and 13 fire fighters.

The 17 injured Army personnel-two officers, three Army Jawans, four of DSC and eight fire fighters are now stable.

The Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis led-Maharashtra government announced a compensation of five lakh rupees to the next kin of those killed and three lakh rupees to the injured.

Public Health Minister Dipak Sawant has assured that air ambulance will be made available if the need arises to shift the injured to Mumbai for treatment.

Meanwhile, the fire has been completely doused and situation has been brought under control after an overnight operation. But the officials are still monitoring the accident spot.

The blaze started around 2 A.M yesterday.

The fire had spread to a number of sheds where ammunitions, bombs and other explosive were kept.

The central ammunition depot at Pulgaon is India’s biggest ammunition depot as stocks, including bombs, grenades, shells, assorted rifles and other explosives from various factories comes here first and is then distributed to various forward areas.

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar yesterday expressed grief over loss of lives and said that the officers scarified their lives in effort to minimise damage.

“Deeply pained at loss of lives, they sacrificed their lives and managed to contain fire.” Parrikar said. (ANI)