Despite the government making efforts to control the use of ammonium nitrate, which is commonly available as fertiliser, it continues to be the most favourite explosive material used in almost all the blasts during last three years.
The government had planned a strong controlling regime to check misuse of ammonium nitrate, key component for manufacturing deadly RDX explosive, but the proposal is yet to see the light of day.
The terror attacks in Uttar Pradesh courts in November 2007 and subsequent bombings in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi point towards the metamorphosis of the chemical from innocuous fertiliser into a terror toy.
Ammonium nitrate is not a high-quality explosive like RDX but intelligent use of shrapnel, packing and proper fuel mix like diesel converts it into a low-cost-high-impact explosive.
"Ammonium nitrate produces oxygen at a very fast rate thereby creating an explosion. The basic difference between the RDX and ammonium nitrate is that the former can be used alone for causing blasts whereas the latter is to be laced with some fuel for causing the explosion," Head of Explosives Unit, Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, Dhanbad, R R Singh said.
A timer device which could be a simple microchip is embedded in the entire package and can be programmed like a digital clock. It creates spark at scheduled time and detonates the package.
There has been some amount of laxity to check the movement of the chemical, says a Home Ministry official, adding, "we require a strong controlling regime to monitor its misuse and ensure that its offenders were booked under the Indian Explosive Act".