Army on Monday said it will deploy 100 bomb disposal squads to clear shells from villages around the ordnance depot at Khundroo in Anantnag district where a major blaze left four persons dead.
43 teams of bomb disposal experts have arrived here for segment-wise clearing of shells in the village around the field ordnance depot, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command Lt Gen HS Panag told reporters after conducting an aerial survey of the affected area.
He said another 60 teams of bomb disposal experts would be arriving in a day or two from other commands of the country to augment the sanitising process.
Since the area to be cleared is nearly 225 square kms, the process will take at least two months. However, we will be giving priority to clearing of roads, orchards, fields and houses so that villagers can return to their homes in seven days, he said.
Asked about the cause of the incident, he said preliminary investigation has found that there was a fire accident inside shed number 16 where Major Tarun Kumar and six jawans had gone.
The fire spread to a nearby shed housing white phosphorus which led to the chain reaction of explosions.
As far as the cause of the initiation of fire, it will be known in due course of investigation. An inquiry has already been ordered in this regard, he said.
A joint control room has been set up to coordinate the clearing of shells from the villages and villagers have been advised not to touch suspicious objects.
Asked about the loss of ammunition in the depot, he said only ten per cent of the ammunition has been lost.