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Dilip Kumar

Balasore: Panic gripped residents at Lunapahi village in Balasore district after some explosive materials, believed to be parts of a missile that was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, fell in a farmland close to human settlement with a deafening noise on Wednesday night.

The impact of the fallen object left 8 ft deep crater even as clueless villagers ran for cover after hearing the loud bang that jolted them from their sleep.

The incident took place at the village under Jayadev Kasaba gram Panchayat in Sadar Block which is in the periphery of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) facility in Chandipur.

Panic-stricken locals suspect that the fuselages were parts of a missile which was test fired from the testing centre. They alleged that DRDO authorities didn't inform them about the impending test of any missile or weapon which could have helped them aware of the eventualities.

The Sarpanch of Jayadev Kasaba said "The Collector had alerted us that a missile is scheduled to be test fired probably on December 24 or 25. But, local residents were in for a shock when some parts of a missile fell in the farmland with a huge bang and the large ditch it left of around 8 ft deep. I immediately passed the message to the Collector following which administrative officials and experts from the DRDO rushed to the spot and started an inquiry", he said.

Though no one was injured in the incident, it, nevertheless, triggered panic among the locals, he added. The Sarpanch said the DRDO authorities should alert nearby villagers before conducting any such test.

An elderly villager said that they have been demanding the DRDO to declare the vulnerable areas as restricted zone for possible effects of missile testing. “Some guidelines should also be put in place so that the locals would remain alert during any weapon testing. But so far neither the district administration nor DRDO authorities have paid any attention to our demands,” he alleged.

Though such kind of incident had never occurred in the past, its repeat can't be ruled out in future, he added.

No clarification had been issued by the local administration over the incident at the time of filing the report.

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