The chance discovery of a bomb outside a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottling plant near this Punjab town in Patiala district, has averted a major incident, but led to panic among people and oil company officials in the area, police said Tuesday.
The timely discovery of the bomb, suspected to be an improvised explosive device (IED), could have averted a major incident here, like the recent Jaipur oil depot fire, senior police officials said.
The area was cordoned off by the police and district authorities Monday evening and a bomb disposal squad from the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) arrived here from Jalandhar, 150 km away, to defuse the bomb.
The suspected bomb, which was discovered Monday evening lying in a canister along the Bhiwanigarh-Nabha highway and very close to the Indian Oil LPG bottling plant, was placed at a gas pipeline of the oil company that comes from Panipat till the bottling plant.
Nabha is about 110 km from Chandigarh.
"The bomb appears to be an IED. We had requested the army authorities to help and their inspection team confirmed that it is a bomb. The bomb disposal squad has been called to defuse the bomb. We have, meanwhile, secured the bomb," Patiala district police chief R.S. Khatra said.
The bomb may have had up to 10 kg of explosives and if it had gone off, it would have led to a major incident at the LPG bottling plant, police officials at the spot told IANS.
All staff members of the bottling plant have been asked to remain away from the facility till the bomb is defused.
Khatra said that the bomb has been placed in a canister and wrapped in a 'Lohi' (men's shawl) inside a plastic bag.