Centre asks for security audit of major ports  are houses after Beirut blast

NEW DELHI:  Following the massive explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut on  August 4, the Centre has asked for immediate security audit of  all major ports and Warehouses  in the  country to  verify and confirm whether any hazardous or  explosive material is lying in   these facilities and all necessary safety norms are being followed.

Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said all agencies including Central Board  of Indirect taxes and Customs (CBIC) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had been asked  to begin a survey in the wake of the Beirut blast.

Complying with the MHA direction, the CBIC in a note asked all its field formations including  customs officials to immediately verify and confirm within  two days that all hazardous  and explosive material lying in warehouses and ports across the country meet safety and  fire standards.

They have also been asked to examine whether these materials  posed any  danger to human  life or property.

There were reports  in media that 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate are lying in a Chennai  warehouse following the seizure by the Customs Department in 2015 as its importer,  a private firm, did not have the required permission to import the substance.

The seized chemicals are valued at around Rs 1.80 crore.   The sources said that after the blast in Lebanon, intelligence and other security agencies  had also been asked  keep  a ”hawks eye” on  those organisations which may  import these  materials  without  proper permission  and deliberately get it stuck at ports or in Government  warehouses posing huge danger to lives and property.

Initial reports suggest that Ammonium nitrate, widely used in fertilizers and explosives,  is reported to have been the cause of massive explosion in Beirut, killing  more that 140  people and left thousand  injured apart from massive damage to property. (AGENCIES)