Chandigarh, Mar 21: Over 58 lakh bullets which had outlived their shelf life were yet to be disposed off by the Punjab's Home Affairs department despite Defence Ministry's clarification, saying ammunition whose prescribed life was over should not be used, a CAG report said.
In its report on social, general and economic sectors, the government auditor has observed in 20 test-checked field units during March-June 2014 of the department, that 10.55 lakh 9 mm bullets which had outlived their prescribed life by years ranging between 8 and 28 years were not disposed off and lying in stores.
The latest report further said that 48.11 lakh pieces of ammunition (other than 9 mm) which had also outlived their shelf life by more than 10 years were also lying in stores of 16 field units. The Ministry of Defence had clarified in July 2011 that normal life of 9 mm ammunition would be 5-7 years.
If shelf life was over, the same should not be used and disposed off from safety point of view, it said. CAG further found that the outlived ammunition could not be checked for its serviceability or disposal due to non-availability of ammunition examiner in the state (Punjab) for last 4 years as the only examiner had retired in 2010.
ADGP had stated in August 2014 that a committee had been formed under the chairmanship of DIG (PAP) to dispose off outlived ammunition on the recommendations of ammunition examiner hired from BSF. Rapping the Punjab's Home Affairs and Justice Department, the government auditor found that 113 weapons including rifle, revolver, sten guns, carbines, pistol in nine test-checked field units at various places including Ferozepur, Amritsar, Pathankot, Jalandhar, Mohali, were declared unserviceable and were not deposited in the Central Armoury.
It was also noticed that 1,241 unserviceable weapons already deposited in central armoury had not been disposed off, the report said. Standing Orders provide that arms declared unserviceable by state Assistant Inspector Arms (AIA) should be deposited in central armoury at Bahadurgarh, Patiala for their disposal as per orders of DGP.
The CAG also found that arms including rifle (21,016), muskets (4,839) and sten guns (5,809) were still lying with 16 field units awaiting replacement with prescribed weapons inspite of instructions issued 24 years ago.
A committee constituted by Ministry of Home Affairs to assess the requirement of weapons for state police forces in August 1990 had recommended that obsolete weapons especially .303 rifles, .410 muskets should be replaced with 7.62 mm family of weapons and sten guns should be replaced with 9mm carbines. However, ADGP in August 2014 had stated that obsolete arms would be replaced in a phased manner on receipt of new ones.