DRDO responsible for live bomb explosion that killed 8 in July 2002: NHRC

New Delhi, Oc.21 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission has recommended payment of three lakhs rupees each to the next of kin of the eight persons, who died when a live bomb exploded in Chandipur range District Balasore, Orissa on July 26, 2002. Three persons were also injured in the incident.

On consideration of the reports and the material on record provided by the Ministry of Defence in response to NHRC's notices in the matter, the NHRC observed that the 'BLINDS' which exploded and killed eight persons was picked up by them from the PXE range area, and it belonged to the Defence Research Development Organization, DRDO and no other agency.

The Commission noted that there was some negligence on the part of army personnel in the collection of all the shells fired during the test firing at the range.

It also said that there was no proper arrangement for preventing access to the site by the villagers who gather used shells for extracting metal out of the same, and this was in the knowledge of the authorities concerned. In this scenario, duty of the DRDO officials becomes even more onerous to collect the BLINDS absolutely.

The DRDO in response to the show cause notice of the Commission had said on September 13, 2010, that the incident in question cannot be attributed to the DRDO since no such incident was brought to its notice.

It also said that it is not possible to enclose the range area by fencing etc. and possibility of a shell getting lost may be there despite efforts to collect 100 per cent shells during the test firing.

The Commission found DRDO's stand contradictory and said that it is strange that the DRDO remained oblivious of this incident till the year 2009 despite the news report and the first notice in the matter issued by the Commission to the Defence Secretary on December 19, 2002.

The Commission said the incident took place due to some negligence, and therefore, the affected persons must be compensated.

The Commission has asked the Defence Secretary to submit a compliance report along with proof of payment within two months.(ANI)

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