PANAJI: To make security checks quicker and error-free at India’s hypersensitive airports, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) received clearance from the Public Investment Board (PIB) to install full-body scanners that will cut down the passenger frisking time by half.
These full-body scanners will be installed at four airports in the country including Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Goa.
In July, the government had floated a tender to procure 131 full-body scanners– that cut down the average passenger frisking time to 15 seconds from the current 30 and 600 new hand baggage scanners at over Rs 1,000 crore at airports run by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) but it was later withdrawn as it needed clearance from PIB.
Given that all the investment plans with an estimated cost of Rs 500 crores and more fall under the purview of PIB, the initial proposal was to install 131 full-body scanners and 600 new hand-baggage scanner machines at 43 airports that include Amritsar, Goa, Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Varanasi, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Raipur, Tirupati, Bhopal, among others at over Rs 1,000 crore at airports run by the AAI.
However, in a recent meeting between stakeholders involved in the safety and security of airports, it was decided that instead of going for the installation in one go as per the original plan, the PIB gave its nod for the installation of full-body scanners in the four airports that witness maximum footfall among all airports owned and managed by the Airport Authority of India (AAI). The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Bureau of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Home Affairs and others.
“After evaluating the success report of full-body scanners at these four airports, other airports in the queue will get the facility at the earliest. In the meeting, various aspects like procurement, installation, training of security personnel and operations were discussed,” said a senior official.
According to officials, these millimetre-wave technology-based full-body scanners work on the principle of body contours, i.e. these are designed to detect objects that could be concealed in the body.
“As the proposal needs approval of PIB, it was reviewed and now full-body scanners will be installed at four airports including thirteen scanners at Kolkata, twelve at Chennai, eight at Goa and five at Pune airport. These airports fall under the hypersensitive category as per BCAS”, added the official.
The AAI manages 137 airports in India, which include 24 international airports, 10 customs airports, and 103 domestic airports.