August 2003 News

Negligence Caused Giyal Blast: Report

26 August 2003
The Dawn

Gilgit: The Giyal tragedy in which 47 people were killed and 80 injured on Aug 2, was an accident caused by negligence of an explosive stockist, a judicial inquiry report released here on Tuesday said. The report held no body responsible for the incident which happened due to an electricity short-circuit as the owner of the house, Waris Khan, was cooking fish on an electric heater which caught fire. The report said that the owner got panicked and started dousing the cooking pan with water without switching off the electric heater as he was ignorant of the short-circuiting in the remote area. The water used for putting out flames worked as a conductor to spread fire in the house which eventually reached the underground explosive depot and caused blasts that killed 47 and injured over 80 villagers. The report has suggested appointment of explosive inspectors throughout the Northern Areas who should monitor accurate and timely utilization of the distributed explosives by local contractors at project sites to avoid such tragedies in future. It has recommended supply of not more than 100 kilograms of explosives at a time to any contractor in future and suggested that separate storage arrangements should be in place to safeguard the population in villages. The report exonerated all executing agencies and stakeholders like Northern Areas Public Works Department (NAPWD), the local administration and the contractor of the project from any guilt, asserting that the storage of explosive sticks in the houses had had been a past practice in the region due to fear of robberies and thefts. The report further said that the NAPWD drilling and compressor machine was out of order in those days and the contractor could not make use of the explosive sticks and the explosives were temporarily kept at his residence. The 15-page report was prepared by Northern Areas Chief Court judge Raja Jalaluddin.


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