VISAKHAPATNAM: A three-member committee constituted by district collector V Vinay Chand inspected the warehouse where ammonium nitrate is stored in Mindi area in the city on Friday.
The committee, comprising revenue divisional officer K Penchala Kishore, executive engineer of the Pollution Control Board Subhhan and inspector of factories Siva Sankar Reddy, visited the warehouse of Shravan Shipping Services, where around 18,500 metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate is stored.
The panel, which felt that there was no threat from the compound, however asked the disaster management officials to conduct an in-depth study and suggest measures to prevent accidents.The inspection was conducted in the wake of a catastrophic explosion at Beirut port on August 4 that has killed at least 100 people and injured 4,000 others.
Visakhapatnam Port Trust chairman K Ram Mohana Rao also said that there was no threat to the city by the unloading and transport of ammonium nitrate. "The port is handling the compound after taking all precautions: the entire area is cleaned to ensure there is no other material in the area," he said.
"As soon as a vessel arrives, police, CISF, pollution department, CISF and port safety wing are informed and the bagged compound is unloaded from the ship in their presence. A fire tender is also kept ready as a safety precaution. Ammonium nitrate is mainly imported from Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria and it is used in iron ore and coal mines in the neighbouring states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. Since it is not self-inflammable there is no need for worry," he added.
‘Shift storage unit’
Former Union energy secretary EAS Sarma sought a survey of land where warehouses of ammonium nitrate are located in Mindi. In a letter to district collector V Vinay Chand, he said, "The compound is stored in warehouses with a capacity of 30,000 tonnes before being transported to other states. The godowns are located in densely populated areas, which are also in close proximity to the airport, Visakhapatnam Port and HPCL Refinery. If an accident was to occur, it could be truly disastrous."
He demanded that the storage facilities be moved to somewhere where there is no threat to habitation or a strategic asset.