In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "In case of Srinagar, a reference has been made to the CBI to inquire into alleged involvement of anti-national elements, terrorists, land mafia etc. The CBI investigation is under progress."
He was asked whether any defence land has been encroached upon by land mafia and action taken to remove such encroachments.
In reply to a query whether government has formulated any policy for utilising unused defence land for public use, he said, "Defence land is meant primarily for various defence needs. The requirement of defence land is gradually increasing and hence can not be frozen at any point of time...No defence land, including land which is presently vacant, can be declared for any surplus."
Replying to a question on incidents of fire in ordnance depots, Antony said, "In March 2010, a fire incident took place in Panagarh Ammunition Depot in which 332 Metric Tonnes of ammunition worth Rs 18 crore was destroyed...In November 2010, a fire incident took place in Binaguri Ammunition Point in West Bengal in which 19 Metric Tonne Unserviceable Ammunition of nil value was damaged."
No loss of life was reported in any of these incidents and no individual was found guilty in the inquiry conducted by the Eastern Command Headquarters.
On steps taken to increase safety measures at ammunition and ordnance depots, he said, "All depots have updated safety and security instructions and have been inspected by a board of officers to check adequacy of fire safety and security arrangements."
The army has also been disposing off the unserviceable ammunition on priority and "Rs 1,736 crore has been allocated from 1999 onwards for ammunition storage accommodation," he said.