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Scrapped missiles create furore in Maharashtra district

March 25, 2009 12:10 IST

Residents of more than 20 villages in Wada taluka of Thane district in Maharashtra have sought intervention of the authorities to shift a hazardous stockpile of scrap material, including missiles, stored in an unused furnace mill.

They said the villagers in the predominantly tribal area are living in a state of fear, apprehending explosion in the scrap material.

"Hum to mout ke kuve me hain, aur koi hamari nahi sunta (we are facing an explosive situation but no one is ready to listen to us)," villagers told visiting newspersons.

The scrap, including missiles, rocket launchers and spent shells, had been kept in the premises of the now-abandoned Salasar Steel Furnace Mill by the police.

The entire area is surrounded by at least half a dozen furnace mills, which prepare iron ingots from the imported scrap material.

A few years ago, there were several cases of explosions in the scrap brought from overseas. Some of these incidents had taken place in Thane district also.

A senior social worker from Thane district, Om Prakash Sharma, who visited the site, has written to the Union Home Ministry, asking it to urgently look into the matter.

The army should take the possession of the missiles and either store them in a safe place or dispose them, he said.

The scrap is also risky as pipelines supplying water to Mumbai [Images] pass through these villages, he said.

An official of the furnace mill said the company had made several representations and submitted memorandums to the district police about shifting the scrap, but of no avail.

"The stock of missiles, whose number is around 200, should be shifted immediately," he said. District officials were not available for comment on the issue.

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