Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Four jawans die in blast at Pokhran range

New Delhi: In yet another mishap caused due to suspected defective ammunition,four soldiers were killed and three others injured when the barrel of a 81mm mortar burst at the Pokhran field firing range on Sunday. The mishap took place when the victims,belonging to the Maratha Light Infantry and Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry units from the 35 Brigade based in Delhi,were taking part in routine night-firing exercises. The 81mm mortars barrel burst with a high-explosive shell inside it. A court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the exact reason for the accident, said an official. While one of the jawans died on the spot,three others succumbed to injuries on the way to the Jodhpur military hospital. They have been identified as Gopal Appawasan, Kadam Subhash Suresh, Raviraj Vishnu and Mohammad Ishaq. The condition of the three injured is also serious. Even as the Army inducts advanced weapon systems, the fact remains that some of its ammunition, bombs, artillery shells and mines are of old vintage, well past their use-by dates, or simply defective in nature.

In March 2008, for instance,three soldiers were also killed in a mortar burst during the Brazen Chariots exercise at Pokhran.Last year,a young officer had died at the Deolali artillery school after a shell had burst near him.Continued use of old ammunition also rudely came through during the laying of the staggering 10.5 lakh mines during the troop mobilisation along Indo-Pak border after Parliament attack.
Ballistic missile test aborted mid-way

New Delhi: India is at least a decade away from deploying an effective missile defence shield, which will require extensive overlapping networks of reliable early-warning and tracking radars, foolproof command and control posts, and of course land and sea-based batteries of advanced interceptor missiles. This is the ground reality, even if DRDO proclaims that its largely home-grown two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) system will be far superior than the American Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3 ) and Israeli Arrow-2 BMD systems once it becomes fully operational. BMD technology is incredibly complex, far more than the task of stopping an incoming bullet by firing another bullet at it.

Even the US BMD systems, with over $100 billion being spent on PAC-3, Aegis BMD-3 and other systems, are yet to be proven in actual conflict till now. That India is miles away from an effective missile shield was underlined once again when the fourth test of its fledgling BMD system was aborted mid-way off the Orissa coast on Monday. The modified Prithvi missile, mimicking the target missile, could reach an altitude of only 75-80 km instead of the designated 110 km due to some on board system malfunction. This enemy missile, while descending on its parabolic trajectory,was to be hit by the endo-atmospheric interceptor missile at an altitude of 15 km above the earth. But since it failed to achieve the desired altitude profile, the mission control centre computer did not instruct the interceptor missile to take-off and intercept the incoming missile. It will take a month or more to conduct a fresh mission, said a senior scientist. Incidentally, the first three tests of the BMD system, designed to track and destroy hostile missiles both inside (endo) & outside (exo) earths atmosphere, were quite successful. In Nov 06, Dec07 and Mar 09, the enemy missiles were killed at altitudes of 48-km,15-km and 80-km respectively. The real test will, however, come when both the two-stage exo and single-stage endo interceptor missiles are tested in an integrated mode, to first engage outside the atmosphere and then intercept the leakers inside to ensure a near 100% kill probability.
KVs to scrap quota system in admissions

New Delhi: Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) on Monday is said to have decided to scrap the discretionary quota system in admission of students.The meeting of the board of governors (BoG) of KVS chaired by HRD minister Kapil Sibal is said to have decided to end discretionary quota enjoyed by the ministers and MPs, sources said. Sibal, who is the chairman of the BoG of KVS, has been supporting the scrapping of the quota system in admission to make it fair. As per the quota system, while the HRD minister can recommend names of candidates for 1,200 seats under his discretionary quota, an MP can recommend two candidates for admission into the central schools. While a Lok Sabha MP can recommend two candidates from his constituency, a Rajya Sabha MP can recommend two candidates from anywhere from the state which is represented by him.

There are nearly 10 lakh seats in 981 KVs across the country. The decision comes months after Sibal was flooded with requests for admissions soon after taking over as HRD minister last year. His predecessor Arjun Singh had exhausted 1,000 seats available under the discretionary quota. PTI
(source toi)

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