The blast at a scrap store near Samrala Chowk here on Saturday has once again brought to the fore the need to ensure checks on materials imported into the country and to install electronic scanners at Inland Container Depots (ICD) where containers could be scanned for verification of their contents.
The industrial bodies have for long been demanding such electronic scanners at ICDs at Sahnewal, Dhandari Kalan and Phase 7 industrial area for proper checking of imported materials.
The industry bodies had last year also made the demand for scanners to officials of customs (preventive), who look after ICDs, for installing electronic scanners at these three ports, but nothing has been done so far.
Federation of associations of small industries of India president Badish Kumar Jindal said, "Had the scanners been installed at these three ICDs where imported materials for different industries in the city arrives, the blast could have been prevented since electronic scanners provide accurate information about materials in the containers."
Sources said that checking of containers at these ICDs was presently done manually, which was giving poor results since it was not possible to inspect a large number of containers through such method. Besides, it was also a time-consuming process.
An estimated 250-300 containers of scrap from other countries arrives at these three ports daily. However, in the absence of proper checking, most containers pass through unchecked.
"The scanners will not only reduce chances of such explosions, but also ensure transparency at these ports," said an industry representative.
SS Dhillon, director of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) development institute, said that it could not take any initiative on its own to install scanners at these ports.
"We definitely need to find out why blasts are taking place and chalk out plan to stop these. But the institute can help only if it is asked," he said.
Commissioner, customs (preventive), KK Sharma could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.