Chennai Port Storing 740 Tonnes Of Ammonium Nitrate Sparks Fear After Beirut Catastrophe, E-Auction Soon
Ports in Tamil Nadu have been alerted after the massive explosion in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. In the year 2015, 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was seized at the Chennai Port, which has been stored and kept to date. After the alert, a team of Customs and Fire Department reached Manali in the northern part of Chennai where explosive grade ammonium nitrate is kept.
The huge explosion in Beirut was due to tonnes of ammonium nitrate kept in a warehouse in the port since 2013. It is believed that keeping it for a long time caused heat and explosion. This is the reason why the Chennai Customs Department has started preparing for the auction of ammonium nitrate stockpile as soon as possible, which has been kept in store for five years.
The seized material which was seized in 2015 belongs to a family from Karur. The company had a license to import the ammonium nitrate used in composting, but when tested 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate brought from Korea in 37 containers turned out to be explosive. The Customs Department had seized it then, which has not been auctioned yet.
The stock of ammonium nitrate is kept 20 km away from the city. There is no residential settlement for around two kilometres. According to customs officials, preparations were on to auction this consignment, but it could not happen due to the coronavirus epidemic. Now the e-auction process has been speeded up to clear it at the earliest.
In two powerful explosions in Beirut, 137 people have been confirmed dead, while more than 5,000 people are injured including five Indians. Many countries have come forward to help rebuild Beirut.