A truck carrying 30 tonnes of the chemical, also used as an explosive, is missing since the last 20 days. The Visakhapatnam Port alone imports over one lakh tonnes of the chemical. Is there any check on why such large quantities are being imported in the country, asks the former secretary
EAS Sarma, former secretary of the Government of India, has again raised serious questions on the uncontrolled import and movement of ammonium nitrate (AN) in the country. Mr Sarma, in a letter written to the home secretary, said, "As a result of the negligence and procrastination on the part of the government, AN is available readily to the extremists and the acts of terrorism taking place frequently."
Last week, one truck carrying 600 bags or about 30 tonnes of AN went missing while on its way to Singrauli from Indore. The truck left Indore on 19th April and has become untraceable since then. Police from Madhya Pradesh have launched a hunt, but till date there is no news on the whereabouts of the truck and its driver.
Ammonium nitrate is commonly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer. It is also used as an oxidizing agent in explosives, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It is the main component of ANFO, a very popular explosive, made by using AN and fuel oil. In the last few years, ultras have been using this chemical to carry out blasts, following which, the government has categorised it as an explosive material. Ammonium-nitrate-based explosives were used in the Oklahoma City bombing and in the 2011 Delhi bombing and the bombing in Oslo in 2011.
"For quite some time, I have been cautioning the home ministry about the large scale import of ammonium nitrate taking place through Visakhapatnam and other ports and the inadequate oversight that is exercised on the storage and distribution of this explosive that moves to different parts of the country," said Mr Sarma.
Large quantities of this chemical are stored in prohibited areas around Vizag and transported to interior places. Much of it may be going for legal and illegal quarrying and mining operations, allowing anti-social social elements to get hold of it, he said.
Since 2006, the former secretary has been writing letters to the home ministry, the National Security Agency (NSA), the ministry for industrial development and the Andhra Pradesh government about the possible misuse and uncontrolled movement of AN in the country.
"I had sent the US and European standards for keeping surveillance over AN to the ministry of industrial development. These standards include regulation of its indigenous manufacture and imports, strict surveillance over the quantities imported, manufactured, stored, transported and sold on a random as well as regular basis, mandating GPS tracking of all the trucks and mandating their route approval combined with the trucks reporting to all the intermediate police outposts," Mr Sarma said.
"In the past, there were instances of AN trucks missing but there is no information on the outcome of the cases registered! It is possible that the chemical has gone into the hands of the extremist groups. Even one kg of AN in the hands of an extremist could cause havoc and lead to loss of innocent lives as it has been the case with most instances of terrorism during the last several years," he added.
"I am not sure whether anything tangible has been done to scrutinize the unusually escalating demand for ammonium nitrate, the antecedents of those that import, store and distribute the chemical and the bonafides of those that receive the consignments," the former secretary added.
Mr Sarma, in his letter to the Home ministry, also raised several issues related with the recent incident of the missing truck that was carrying AN. "In the latest case of the missing AN truck between Indore and Singrauli, will the home ministry assure the country that the precautions suggested by some of us were implemented? For that matter, has your ministry issued clear instructions to the ministry of industrial development that every vehicle carrying AN in the country should comply with the standards? Is there any monitoring whatsoever over the import, storage, transport and sale of AN?" Mr Sarma asked.
For FY12, Dena Bank reported a net profit of Rs803.14 crore, up 31%, as compared to Rs611.6 crore of previous fiscal
New Delhi: Public sector lender Dena Bank on Tuesday posted 62% jump in net profit at Rs254.79 crore for the fourth quarter (Q4) ended March 2012. The bank had a net profit of Rs157 crore during the January-March quarter in the previous financial year.
Total income of the bank in fourth quarter rose to Rs2,166.36 crore, compared to Rs1,588.2 crore in the same quarter a year ago, Dena Bank said in a filing on the BSE.
The bank has proposed a dividend of 30%, or Rs3 per share for FY2011-12, it said.
For the full financial year ended March 2012, Dena Bank reported a net profit of Rs803.14 crore, up 31%, as compared to Rs611.6 crore of previous fiscal. Total income of the lender rose to Rs7,376.30 crore in the financial year 2011-12 from Rs5,567.3 crore in the last fiscal.
In March, Maruti Suzuki increased prices of its entire range of vehicles by up to Rs17,000 following the hike in excise duty in the Budget
New Delhi: The country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India has raised the prices of the new diesel variants of its sedan DZire by up to Rs12,000 from this month, citing input costs pressure, reports PTI.
"The company is feeling the pressure of input costs. To mitigate the impact, we have hiked the prices of only diesel variants of the new DZire with effect from 1st May," a senior Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) official said. The company has increased the rates of the model between Rs8,000 and Rs12,000, he added.
In February this year, MSI had rolled out a shorter version of its entry-level sedan DZire at an introductory price between Rs4.79 lakh and Rs7.09 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The company priced the petrol variants of the new DZire between Rs4.79 lakh and Rs6.54 lakh, while the diesel ones come for Rs5.80 lakh to Rs7.09 lakh.
The new model is available in both petrol and diesel options and it qualifies for the excise duty of 10% enjoyed by small cars as it is shorter than 4 metres.
While the petrol version is powered by a 1.2 litre engine, the diesel one has a 1.3 litre engine. An automatic transmission variant is also available in the petrol version.
MSI continues to produce the old DZire in some specific entry-level variants to target the fleet segment. The prices of the existing DZire ranges between Rs4.94 lakh and Rs7.29 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
In March, the company had increased the prices of its entire range of vehicles by up to Rs17,000 following the hike in excise duty in the Budget for 2012-13.
Prior to this, MSI had raised the prices in January this year for its all vehicles, except for DZire, by 0.3-3.4% due to rising input costs. This translated into a minimum increase of Rs 2,400 on the SX4 sedan and a maximum of Rs 17,000 on the diesel variant of its Swift hatchback.