Chennai: Safety concerns over storage of ammonium nitrate arising in the backdrop of the explosion of the chemical in Beirut were addressed as the substance has been e-auctioned and is being shipped to Hyderabad, sources here said on Sunday. The 697 tonnes of the chemical have been lying in the container freight station near here and the e-auction is over, the sources said. The disposal of the cargo would be done within a short period by adhering to safety norms, they said. Some containers with the chemical have already left for Hyderabad, police sources said. The substance was seized in 2015 under the Customs Act 1962. The cargo was then kept at the freight station located about 20 km from the city and there was no residential locality within the vicinity of the storage area, they said. The chemical was seized from a Tamil Nadu-based importer who had allegedly declared the substance as fertilizer grade although it was an explosive grade, the Customs authorities have said. The consignment, imported from South Korea, was safely stored considering the hazardous nature of the substance, they had said in a statement. Following the seizure, the license of the importer was cancelled, they said. While seven tonnes of the chemical got spoilt during the deluge in December 2015, the remaining 690 tonnes were to be e-auctioned, he said. The explosion of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate on August 4 in Lebanon's port city of Beirut killed 135 people and injured about 4,000. That triggered safety concerns over the storage of the chemical here and in the country at large.
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