TNPCB has also asked the Commissioner of Customs to take immediate action and clear the stored chemical from the CFS as it is still under the possession of the Customs Department.
The report was readied after a team of officials headed by M Malaiyandi, Joint Chief Environmental Engineer and officials from the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services headed by DGP C Sylendra Babu, visited the freight station on Thursday. “The nearest habitation, namely Manali New Town, with a population of 7,000 is at distance of 700 metres and Sadayankuppam with a population of 5,000 is 1.5 km away,” the TNPCB report said, contradicting the claims of Customs Joint Commissioner Samaya Murali. The report also sought the director of Industrial Safety and Health to inspect the CFS and take necessary action as per the provisions of manufacture, storage and import of hazardous chemicals rules.
On Friday, K Sundaresan, Deputy Chief Controller, Petroleum, Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) along with V Balakrishnan, Joint Commissioner of Police, north Chennai, visited the freight station where 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was kept stored since 2015 after it was seized at the Chennai port as the importer had no licence. Of the 740 tonnes, 50 tonnes got spoilt in the 2015 Chennai floods.
Customs asked to fast track e-auction or shift ammonium nitrate: At a meeting of senior officials held on Friday evening, it was decided that the Customs department should either fast track the e-auction so that it is completed in three four days or shift the entire quantity of ammonium nitrate to a magazine - a designated place for storage of ammunition and explosives away from habitation. Officials, including Chennai CoP Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal, V Pazhaniyandi, Joint Commissioner, Sea Port and K Sundaresan, Deputy Chief Controller, PESO took part in the meeting. Sources said Customs officials are at the last stage of finalising the buyer through e-auction.