An Indian tanker carrying hydrogen peroxide from Pakistan exploded at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at the Attari border on Wednesday morning.
Four high-intensity blasts reduced the tanker to ashes. The vehicle was flung about 200 metres away before it crashed into the 25-ft-high boundary wall of the ICP. No loss of life was reported.
Immediately after the incident, the Indian customs authorities suspended the import of liquid chemicals from Pakistan.
The incident took place at 7:48am, when the tanker was awaiting customs clearance. Luckily, driver Roshan Singh had gone to have tea when the explosions occurred. The tanker, which had arrived from Pakistan on Tuesday evening, was loaded with 18-20 metric tonnes of hydrogen peroxide. India receives two to three truckloads of this chemical everyday from Pakistan.
A forensic team was called from Chandigarh. Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat, who visited the spot, has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.
Taking to HT, Bhagat said, “Had the tanker not been parked in a secluded area, it could have led to serious damage. Immediately, a message was sent across by the customs authorities and Pakistan was asked not to send any liquid chemicals till the investigation is completed.”
“As of now, we cannot comment on the reasons for the blasts,” he added.
Border Security Force (BSF) deputy inspector general (DIG) MF Farooqui, who also reached the spot, said, “We are keeping a close watch and some changes have been recommended.”
The chemical was sent by a company, Sitara Chemical, based in Lahore and was to be delivered to a company in Mandi Gobindgarh.
The Amritsar (rural) police registered a case at the Gharinda police station and took the driver into custody for questioning.
Other officials who reached the spot included inspector general (IG, border range) Ishwar Chander and Amritsar (rural) senior superintendent of police (SSP) Jasdeep Singh.