Former secretary (Energy), E.A.S. Sarma wrote a letter to Union Home Secretary A.K. Bhalla seeking the need to tighten the rules and procedures relating to import, storage and transport of ammonium nitrate.
Sarma, in his letter, mentioned that the ghastly explosion that rocked Beirut was related to the tardy investigation carried out by the local authorities on the casual manner in which the chemical had been stored at the port and the possibility of either official negligence or an externally triggered event that snowballed into such a huge explosion.
In 2017, India imported 275,822 tonne of ammonium nitrate. The imports continue to be around that level even today.
Visakhapatnam port alone witnessed imports of ammonium nitrate to the tune of 2,60,505 tonne (2018-19).
The Beirut accident involved only 2,750 tonne of ammonium nitrate, whereas in Visakhapatnam alone, at any time, there is a minimum stock of 30,000 tonne.