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Explosives Act, 1884

4. Re-Orientation of Activities

The Activities of the Department of Explosives were initially confined mostly to inspection of few magazines existing at that time.  The following duties were assigned to the then Chief Inspector of Explosives:-

  • To carry out regular systematic inspection of all important explosives magazines.
  • To investigate and report  the cause of accidents involving explosives.
  • To give expert advice in all matters connected with the administration of Explosives Act, 1884 and Rules framed thereunder.
  • At that time, the Explosives Act,1884 was only in force.
  • The Petroleum Act (VIII of 1899) came into force on 17.02.1899 and the Carbide of Calcium Rules was brought under this Act by a Notification dated 11.08.1899.
  • During the year 1904-05, the administration of Indian Petroleum Act and the Rules framed thereunder came within the authority of jurisdiction of the Chief Inspector of Explosives.
  • Owing to different sets of provincial Rules followed by different provinces, an impasse was created in effective administration of the Indian Petroleum Act.
  • With a view to iron out such impasses and bring uniformity in the system, the Chief Inspector of Explosives started an endeavor to contemplate and frame set of rules for all states allowing variations essential for local conditions.  Finally, the Petroleum Act, 1934 was promulgated in super session of all earlier Acts and the Petroleum Rules, 1937 came into force with effect from 30.03.1937 replacing the earlier provincial Rules.  The consolidated Carbide of Calcium Rules came into force with effect from 18.03.1937.
  • Initially the Explosives Rules, 1918 was in force.
  • Due to increased insurgencies for independent India, another Act, called Explosives Substance Act, 1906 was promulgated. The objective of the Explosives Act, 1884 and the Explosives Substance Act, 1906 were different. The objective of the Explosives Act, 1884 was to regularize the hazardous licensed premises dealing with commercial explosives for public safety but the objective of the Explosives Substance Act, 1906 was to penalize . The Chief Controller of Explosives continued to administer the Explosives Act, 1884, and the Rules framed thereunder and the culture of the Department of Explosives remained same, that is to regularize the premises for the interest of public.
  • Subsequently in 1940, the Explosives Rules, 1940 came into force repealing the earlier Rules. After that due to increase in production /number of explosives/manufacturing units (list enclosed ),Explosives Rules,1983 were promulgated.
  • In the same year, the Gas Cylinder Rules, 1940 with about 20 provisions were framed under the Explosives Act, 1884 and came into force covering only few gases. For LPG, there was a separate Notification. There were no licensing for filling or storage of compressed gases but approval for storage of compressed gas cylinders was mandatory.
  • The major thrust of work load of the officers of the Department of Explosives during early pre independence era up to about 36 years after independence, was dealing, handling, examination, rendering harmless of home-made bombs and to submit report and tender expert opinion and evidence on such explosives exhibits seized by police to the court of law.
  •  Before independence there was only one small petroleum Refinery at Digboi (Assam) commissioned in 1901(oldest in the Indian sub-continent) expanded in 1902 and entirely rebuilt in 1923 and provided technical and skilled man power for post independent refineries in Guwahati, Barauni, Gujarat, Haldia, Mathura etc. At present there are 17 POL Refineries in India (list enclosed ) with increase in refining capacity from earliest 0.5 M.T. to about 100 million tons of crude petroleum. Due to rapid industrialization in the country after independence, the Petroleum Rules were overhauled and amended comprehensively in the years 1975-76 and new Rules as Petroleum Rules, 1976 were brought into force.
  • During the course of time there were several amendments in the Explosive Act, the Petroleum Act and the Rules.
  • The Inflammable substance Act came into force during 1952. 
  • Prior to 1981, there was no legislation for storage and transport of compressed gases in bulk. The new sets of Rules known as Static and Mobile pressure vessels {Unfired} Rules, 1981 was framed.
  • The Gas Cylinder Rules, 1940,were replaced Comprehensively by the Gas Cylinders Rules, 1981, and came into force during 1981. The provisions for CNG dispensing station were made to come within the purview of the Gas Cylinders Rules, 1981.
  • Of late, the Static and Mobile Pressure Vessels (Unfired) Rules, 1981, were amended vide G.S.R. 141(E)dated 14.02.2000 incorporating provisions for installation of Auto L.P.G. Dispensing station for using LPG as Automotive Fuel.
  • MISHC Rules…
  • With the present global industrial liberalization, all the Rules administered by the Department of Explosives are being reviewed with change in outlook and the matter is under active consideration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.


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