PMK raised concerns about the storage of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse in Chennai after the explosion in Lebanon’s Beirut.

Ammonium Nitrate seized in Chennai safe, will be cleared from warehouse based on e-auctionWiki Commons/ VtTN / CC BY 3.0
news Explosion Thursday, August 06, 2020 - 15:17

Barely a day after there were claims that a large quantity of ammonium nitrate is stored at a warehouse in Chennai, the customs officials have cleared the air. They stated that the chemical is safe in a warehouse which is located on the outskirts of the city. Concerns over the storage of the chemical come in the backdrop of the massive explosion that took place in Lebanon’s Beirut on Tuesday. The blast, which claimed 138 lives and injured over 5,000 people, was caused by over 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was stored in Beirut’s cargo port. 

According to reports, customs officials in Chennai conducted an inspection of the warehouse early on Thursday, where around 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate have been stored. Several bags of the chemical were seized by the customs authorities from a consignment addressed to a Karur-based firm, around five years ago. The authorities had seized the chemical after it was found that the importing firm did not have the required licenses.

According to reports, in Beirut as well, a huge consignment of ammonium nitrate was stored in the port for years, which eventually caused the explosion, which nearly wiped out the entire port and caused massive destruction to the city. Following the incident, PMK leader Dr S Ramadoss urged that the consignment in Chennai warehouse be cleared safely and used for manufacturing fertilisers.

Speaking to TNM, a port customs official said, "The containers carrying close to 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were seized in 2015 because they imported it without following certain rules. It was then shifted to the container site station in Manali. They (the firm) cannot release goods from here without our permission. We checked the storage situation, and everything is correct. It is kept in over 30 containers as per the Explosives Act. It will be auctioned off soon.”

The official also added that other ports in Tamil Nadu have also been instructed to check if there are any consignments with ammonium nitrate in their warehouses.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.