Naxals have hijacked a truck carrying 16.5 tonnes of high-grade ammonium nitrate — which is used for making explosives — in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district and the transporting company is in trouble.

Police have launched an operation to trace the huge quantity of chemical looted yesterday by the Maoists after the truck which was on its way from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to the Chhattisgarh capital to deliver the consignment to a factory was waylaid.

Official sources said on Thursday the truck carrying the ammonium nitrate, which is an ingredient for high nitrogen fertiliser and which can be used for making explosives as well, was hijacked by the Naxals in an area hit by Left-wing extremists.

The route through Bastar is the shortest one to reach Raipur from Visakhapatnam. No security guard had accompanied the truck.

The incident came to light when the truck driver was released last night, Bastar SP P Sundarraj said.

In New Delhi, an official said the government has decided to take penal action against the transporting company for its “failure” to inform Chhattisgarh police about the consignment.

The action came following an investigation which revealed that the transport company failed to inform the Chhattisgarh Police about the consignment.

“Ideally, the transporter is supposed to inform the local police about the movement of explosives. But the company did not do it,” an official said, adding, similar action will be taken if any such incident recurs in future.

After questioning the driver, a search was immediately launched for the explosives, but no headway has been made so far, Mr. Sundarraj said.

Following the hijack, a high alert has been sounded in the state.

Ammonium Nitrate is used by Naxals for making improvised explosive devices which have claimed the lives of a large number of security personnel.

The ultras had looted a detonator-laden truck in the same area, where the hijack took place, a few months ago. The detonators are yet to be traced.

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