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India amends rules for Ammonium Nitrate, SMPV to enhance safety, ease of doing business

India has announced amendments in its Ammonium Nitrate and Calcium Carbide rules, incorporating more stringent safety measures while promoting ease of doing business
India amended rules for Ammonium Nitrate to increase safety, so that mishaps don’t happen, said DPIIT Additional Secretary Sumita Dawra
India amended rules for Ammonium Nitrate to increase safety, so that mishaps don’t happen, said DPIIT Additional Secretary Sumita Dawra
  • The amendments include provision for adequate firefighting facilities in storage and handling areas, improvement of flooring in storage and handling area for Ammonium Nitrate
  • To address the urgent need for compressed cryogenic gases, like Oxygen, the DPIIT has allowed transportation of these gases through ISO Containers in domestic areas

New Delhi: Taking lessons from the massive Ammonium Nitrate explosion that occurred in Lebanon’s Beirut in August 2020, India has announced on Tuesday amendments in its Ammonium Nitrate and Calcium Carbide rules, incorporating more stringent safety measures in storage and disposal while promoting ease of doing business. At a media briefing, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Additional Secretary Sumita Dawra said, “The explosion in Beirut related to ammonium nitrate acted as a trigger for us. We amended the rules to increase safety, so that mishaps don’t happen.”
 
DPIIT, along with Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), consulted stakeholders and representatives from the private sector, industry bodies and other ministries and amended rules for three major areas — Static & Mobile Pressure Vessels (SMPV), Calcium Carbide and Ammonium Nitrate.

Ammonium Nitrate (Amendment) Rules, 2021

The amendments include provision for adequate firefighting facilities in storage and handling areas, improvement of flooring in storage and handling area, provision for auction of serviceable seized Ammonium Nitrate, disposal, if not fit for use, and specification of safety distance from port area. In order to promote ‘Ease of doing Business,’ the transfer of Ammonium Nitrate from one location to another of the same licensee has been permitted now. 

Provision has been made for adequate fire-fighting facility and shelters for security guards. Ammonium Nitrate received at the ports is now required to be removed / transferred to the nearby storage houses situated 500 metres beyond the port area. The capacity for storage of Ammonium Nitrate in small storehouse has been enhanced by rationalising the space and quantity requirement. 

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To curb pilferage of Ammonium Nitrate, provisions have been made to import Ammonium Nitrate in bagged form only. This will reduce the handling of loose Ammonium Nitrate at port and therefore will enhance safety. The need for submitting application and fees to obtain duplicate license has been eliminated. System generated online copy will be sufficient.

Calcium Carbide (Amendment) Rules, 2021

To monitor premises for storage of Calcium Carbide, provision of geo-mapping of the premises has been incorporated in the rules and will be made available to the concerned state and Central authorities. To reduce compliance burden, PESO has increased the validity of license for storage of Calcium Carbide from three years to 10 years. The need for submitting application and fees to obtain duplicate license has been eliminated. System generated online copy will be sufficient.

Provision for online fees payment facility has been provided in the rules. To increase transparency and access to information, amendments have been made to ensure proper records and compliance of storage related information.

SMPV amendments for cryogenic compressed gases

To address the urgent need for compressed cryogenic gases, like Oxygen, as was seen during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DPIIT has allowed transportation of these gases through ISO Containers in domestic areas. “Provisions have now been incorporated in the Rules to allow transportation of cryogenic compressed gases such as Oxygen, Argon, Nitrogen, LNG etc through ISO Containers in domestic areas. This will help to transport Liquid Oxygen from surplus areas to deficit areas and promote multimodal transportation (by road, rail and waterways) of these gases and reduce the transportation cost as well as time,” said an official statement released by the DPIIT.

An amendment has also been done to introduce the concept of Third-Party Inspecting Agency (TPIA) to carry out the work related to certification, testing, inspection and safety audit of the licensed premises. To increase the number of competent persons to conduct testing and certification, the guidelines on minimum experience required has been reduced from 10 years to five years.

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