Ammonium nitrate removal work continues in Chennai

Chennai:  For the third consecutive day, ammonium nitrate, stored at a Container Freight Station (CFS) in the city’s northern suburb of Manali, was transported to Hyderabad in containers today.

Greater Chennai City Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Agggarwal said all containers of ammonium nitrate will be moved out from the Manali CFS in the next two to three days.

Talking to reporters after according a warm reception to 32 police personnel, including a Deputy Commissioner, who rejoined duties after recovering from Covid-19, he said so far, ten containers carrying 181 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were moved out from the CFS in the first phase. The remaining 27 containers will be moved out in two to three days, he added.

Police and fire service department personnel have provided adequate safety arrangements and the public need not be apprehensive of any danger, he added.

Sources said the chemical was purchased by a private firm in Hyderabad, which was into manufacturing explosives for over two decades, through e-auction from the Customs department, which had seized it five years ago and stored it in 37 containers at the Sattva CFS in Manali.

The ammonium nitrate was transported to Hyderabad based on a directive from the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), which had on Friday directed the Customs Commissioner to clear it safely within three-four days.

It was imported by a Karur-based firm and was seized as it was brought without obtaining the required licences and permission in 2015.

The containers were accompanied by guards and were equipped with dry chemical powder fire extinguishers.

The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation had cleared the containers to transport the chemical in a safe manner.

The ammonium nitrate gained public attention after last weeks devastating explosion involving over 2,000 tonnes of the chemical stored in a warehouse in Beirut, Lebanon that left more than 100 people killed and several thousands

Following a request from the company, the ammonium nitrate was being transported in batches instead of sending it in one go.


NT Bureau