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Customs on drive to check for hazardous confiscated goods

Waking up to the risk posed by confiscated goods that are yet to be cleared, which includes hazardous and explosive chemicals like ammonium nitrate, the Customs Department began a month-long drive to dispose of all such goods following a circular from the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

Customs on drive to check for hazardous confiscated goods
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K Sundaresan, Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, PESO, with workers at a CFS in Manali

Chennai

The risk was brought to public attention first by DT Next, which highlighted how 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was lying at a container freight station (CFS) in Manali for five years. This chemical used in fertilizers caused the massive explosion in Beirut.

On Tuesday morning, the second consignment of 12 containers were moved from the CFS to Hyderabad under the supervision of K Sundaresan, Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, PESO, Chennai. So far, 22 of the total 37 containers – that have been lying here since the chemical was seized from an importer at Chennai Port in 2015 – have been moved out to mitigate the risk the dump posed. In a circular issued on Monday, the CBIC said the expeditious disposal of goods that are hazardous or explosive nature is especially necessary to prevent any damage to life and property that may arise. The circular from Kevin Boban, officer on special duty, Customs, directed concerned officials to ensure that such goods were not held in any Customs station beyond the prescribed time. It also asked the Commissioner of Customs to undertake safety audits in co-ordination with the respective Pollution Control Boards and Fire Safety Department.

After noticing pendency in the disposal of consignments, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has initiated a one-month drive across the country for disposal of unclaimed/uncleared/seized/confiscated goods.

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