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Regulatory framework for explosives in India

 

Regulatory framework for explosives in India

News

A horrific blast in Petlawad, in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, has claimed the lives of about a hundred people. It was caused by a stockpile of gelatine sticks stored illegally in a building.

The sale and transport of such explosive materials is meant to be regulated by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, under the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry.

PESO has its headquarters in Nagpur and it is responsible for the administration of a host of laws pertaining to the regulation of explosives. These include the Explosives Act, 1884; the Inflammable Substances Act, 1952 and the Explosives Rules, 2008.

Analysis

Problem of smuggling

Explosives are easily available in Madhya Pradesh. No concrete steps have been taken by the authorities to check the smuggling of explosives. These explosives are smuggled and used illegally in quarries for blasting activities.

Investigations that have been conducted in the past have revealed that the gelatine sticks which are manufactured in the government factory at Dholpur in Rajasthan are smuggled.

Four years back an incident in which several lorries carrying explosives from Dholpur went missing off the highway and it was suspected to be the handiwork of these smugglers. In the year 2010, it was suspected that around 162 such lorries had gone missing.

The other tactics adopted by smugglers are bribing the drivers of these lorries which carry the explosives. It is a deep infested racket and explosives are stolen from every load that leaves the government factory at Dholpur.

Explosives Rules, 2008

The major work under Explosives Rules, 2008 relates to grant of approval and licenses for manufacture of explosives, authorization of explosives, storage of explosives for Sale/Use, import/export of explosives, transport of explosives by road and packaging for explosives etc. prescribing safe procedures and methods for manufacture of various types of explosives including the tools, equipment and machineries.

Explosives rules, 2008

The explosives rules, 2008 state special provisions for possession, sale and use of explosives.

A person holding license for possession of explosives granted under these rules shall store the explosives only in premises specified in the licensed magazine.

The licensed magazine or store house shall be kept securely closed or locked at all times except when goods are being placed in or taken from it or when it must be kept open for some other purpose in connection with the management of such premises.

The keys of the licensed magazine shall, at all times be kept secured in licensee’s own custody or of his authorized agent and shall be produced for opening the magazine or store house whenever so required by an inspecting officer. The name and address of the person along with passport size photograph with whom the keys will be kept shall be furnished to the licensing authority and the Controller having jurisdiction.

The quantity of any kind of explosives kept in any licensed magazine or storehouse shall not exceed the quantity entered in the license against such kind of explosives. A licensee for possession, sale or use of explosives in and from a magazine licensed in Form LE-3 shall purchase only such quantity of explosives in a given period as may be specified in the license.

Procedure for obtaining license and afterwards

A person desiring to obtain a license for manufacture, possession for sale, use, transport of explosives, under these rules, has to obtain prior approval from the authority empowered to grant such license, by submitting documents mentioned in rule 113.

After approval under rule 101 from Chief Controller or Controller, the person desiring to obtain a license for manufacture, possession for sale or use of explosives shall obtain a no objection certificate from the District Magistrate or Director General of Mines Safety, as the case may be, before commencing construction of the premises.

On receipt of no objection certificate under rule 102, the applicant shall start construction of the premises or installation of the facilities. After the construction of premises is completed, the applicant shall apply for grant of license along with documents stated in rule 113.

The licensing authority, on being satisfied with the documents received for grant of license, shall, subject to the other provisions of this Act and these rules, either grant the license or refuse to grant the same. In case of grant of license, the license is sent to the inspecting office of PESO for Endorsement.

Certain conditions when no license is required

No license needed in certain cases.

Notwithstanding anything contained in rule 7, no license shall be necessary for the following cases, namely :—

  • Manufacture of explosive in small quantities in an established laboratory for research and development purpose with prior permission from the Chief Controller under the conditions as may be imposed by him
  • Transport of explosives by other than mechanical propelled vehicle, within the factory premises, from place of storage to place of use, port of import to storage place within the notified port premises;
  • Transport of safety fuse and fireworks;
  • Possession of fireworks not exceeding one hundred kilogram for own use and not for sale;
  • Possession by any person for his own private use and not for sale of gunpowder not exceeding five kilograms and fifty metres of safety fuse in any State other than Bihar, Kerala, Tamilnadu and West Bengal and of small arm nitro-compound not exceeding five kilograms except in the State of Kerala;
  • Possession by Indian Railways of flare lights or other explosives for its own use and not for sale to any other person
  • Possession of any explosive, which is not for sale and is required solely for the navigation of aircraft,

Petroleum and Explosives Safety (PESO)

The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) formerly Department of Explosives, with its Head Office at Nagpur had completed its hundred years on 9th September 1998. This Organisation comes under, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Government of India.

The objective of the department is

  • To administer the responsibilities delegated under the Explosives Act 1884 and Petroleum Act 1934 and the rules made there under related to manufacture, import, export, transport, possession, sale and use of Explosives, Petroleum products and compressed gases.
  • Providing operational and technical Advice and Assistance to the Central Government, States, Local Bodies, Law Enforcement Agencies, Industry, Trade and end users of these products.
  • Uphold the commitment to transparency and efficiency.
  • Develop alert, Innovative, and well trained work force to achieve our goals.
  • Embrace learning and change in order to meet the challenges of the future.
  • Ensure public safety in the areas of manufacture, transport, storage, handling, etc. of Explosives, Petroleum, Carbide of Calcium, Inflammable substances and Compressed Gases.
  • Advisory role in matters of safety to the government and semi-government bodies like Ports, Railways, Defence establishments & Ministry of Surface Transport, Environment & Forest, Petroleum Natural Gas, Pollution Control Authorities etc coming within the purview of Explosives Act 1884 and Petroleum Act 1934 and the rules framed there under.
  • Framing National Standards concerning public safety in collaboration with BIS, OISD & other apex bodies and harmonizing Indian standards with international standards.
  • Evaluation of new technologies finding applications in hazardous area for adoption in indigenous conditions within the purview of Explosives Act 1884 and Petroleum Act 1934 and the rules framed thereunder.

Question:

Controlled use of explosives is required for peace in any nation otherwise it can be misused easily. Examine the statement with reference to the regulatory framework in India for explosives control.

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