Though there's no denying that safety is paramount, last year's Central government's notification categorizing ammonium nitrate as explosives under the explosive ACT 1884, is causing a lot of inconvenience to manufacturers, users and importers. It has affected the availability of the chemical for fertilizer purposes too.
S Roy, a former government employee of Rashtriya Chemical Fertilizers and other industries and now a freelance consultant in the field, spoke to the TOI elaborating on his views on the sidelines of a day-long national conference on 'Advances in explosives and propellants' organized by the chemical engineering department at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT). Efforts to categorize ammonium nitrate as explosives were on for a long time but began to take form only from 2011 onwards and finally came into effect from March 20, 2013.
"Selling, manufacturing, storing, transporting, safety and importing all have been brought under the explosives act. There were ample deliberations between manufacturers' associations and government but did not result into anything concrete.
The process has also resulted in imports," Roy said.
Speaking on the solid rocket propellants for Indian missiles, Prashant Kumar Adak, a scientist at the High Energy Materials Research Lab of Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO), Pune, said that DRDO had developed advance composite materials for missiles which can improve the missile's range as well as the pay load capacity. It has developed advanced version of explosive composites for application in war heads of rockets thus increasing the performance ability.
The conference was earlier inaugurated by TR Thomas, the chief controller of explosives (PESO) in city. Beginning with the history of explosives like gun powder, Thomas went on explain the present day hazards of explosives. Ajai Nigam, the former chief controller of explosives, deliberated on the advances in explosives and propellants from the good old days when explosives were used in very primitive form to the developments in the present times.
VNIT director NS Chaudhari spoke on the importance of role of chemical engineers in the field and prompted students to take research as a challenge. Department head and convener of the conference KL Wasewar, co-convener DZ Shende and organizing secretary MN Varma also spoke on the occasion. - Times of india