New Delhi: At a time when other countries have devised measures to check import, transportation and sales of explosives, India still allows its import in open and bulk form posing a serious threat to internal security of the country. The terrorists have easy access to the stolen ammonium nitrate from the various Indian ports.

Coincidently, just two weeks before Hyderabad blasts, Vishakhapatnam Port Authority had issued directives over the import of ammonium nitrate. It attests that the government is aware of this illegal practice. Large amount of ammonium nitrate is unloaded at Vishakhapatnam Port.

The government had made amendment to the norms for import of ammonium nitrate last year, but the Union Home Ministry and the Industry Ministry put the decision of stalling its import on hold.

The industry bodies have estimated that around 3, 500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate is stolen annually. Only few kilograms of this explosive is enough to create havoc. Fuel oil and detonator make it deadly weapon.

India imports around 3, 50, 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate annually for industrial use. The open containers with 20, 000-25, 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate arrive at the Indian ports. It is imported in packaged form in the other countries, while in India it is packaged in godowns. During the process, the stolen ammonium nitrate lands in the hands of terrorists.

Several retired police officers have been making the government aware of it. A letter written by former Finance Secretary EAS Sarma to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in the possession of Dainik Jagran. It shows that the government is not serious about the import of explosives.  

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Jayant Umrikar has also cautioned the government about the pilfering of ammonium nitrate.

Anshuman Tiwari/JPN

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