There is no ammonium nitrate in the possession of Customs at Visakhapatnam-Gangavaram, Kakinada and Krishnapatnam ports of Andhra Pradesh, a top Customs official said here on Friday.
In the light of the explosion of the chemical in Beirut and the resultant fatalities and losses on Tuesday, storage of such substance in India has become a cause for serious concern.
Chief Customs Commissioner and Central Tax,Visakhapatam Zone, Naresh Penumaka said the import and storage of the chemical in Andhra Pradesh has been examined. He said there was no ammonium nitrate in the custody of the Customs and that the ports in Visakhapatnam, Gangavaram,Kakinada and Krishnapatnam have no such cargo.
Penumaka, however, said there are regular imports of ammonium nitrate at Visakhapatnam Port and the entire import is bagged cargo imported by manufacturers under licence All the manufacturers have to obtain a pre-shipment import licence from Petroleum and Safety Organisations(PESO), Nagpur, for importing ammonium nitrate.*
On Thursday, Customs authorities in distant Chennai sought to allay fears over safety regarding the storage of nearly 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate at a container freight station the city.
The chemical worth Rs 1.80 crore was seized from a Tamil Nadu-based importer who had allegedly declared it as fertiliser grade although it was an explosive grade, a Customs official had said.
However, the consignment, imported from South Korea,was safe and an e-auction process was on to clear it, he had said.