Smugglers beware: Customs to install full body scanners at international airports
Customs department in 10 international airports in the country will have full body scanners to check smuggling of foreign currency, narcotics and gold among other items.
New Delhi: The Customs department has decided to install full body scanners at 10 international airports in the country in a bid to check smuggling of foreign currency, narcotics and gold among others.
Of the total 30 X-ray-based full body scanner systems, three each will be installed at the airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Calicut, Cochin, Hyderabad, Tiruchirappalli and Thiruvananthapuram, they said.
The move is aimed at checking smuggling of drugs, forex and precious metals by hiding them inside the body, mainly rectum concealment.
Customs officials at Delhi international airport have been foiling attempts regularly made by smugglers to illegally bring in gold and narcotics by concealing it inside the rectum.
Suresh Kishnani, chief commissioner, Directorate of Logistics under the Finance Ministry, said tenders have been invited to procure 30 sophisticated full body X-ray scanners which will be put at international airports by the end of this financial year or the start of the next fiscal.
"It will be a non-intrusive way to scan a suspected carrier to detect concealments in bodily cavities," he told PTI.
These scanners will aid significantly in the Customs fight against the smugglers, Kishnani said.
"We will also be writing to chief commissioners of various Customs zones to ask the custodians or the airports under their charge to also install such full body scanners at their expenses," he said.
Any such installations of the scanners will be in addition to these 30 scanners for which the tender has already been floated, Kishnani said.
He said not all passengers, who are going abroad or coming into the country, will be asked to pass through these scanners, except the ones suspected by the Customs officials concerned of carrying banned goods and gold.
On concerns of privacy violations of flyers, another senior Customs official said these scanners are X-ray-based and there will be no infringement of anyone's privacy.
"These scanners will not show any body shape or parts but the goods concealed inside or over the body. There is no health hazard in the usage of these scanners," the official said.
A full body scanner was recently installed at the Mumbai international airport.
Full body scanner strengthens the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs' (CBIC) anti-smuggling resolve by helping officers detect contraband -- such as weapons, explosives, narcotics, currency notes, precious metals etc. -- concealed on the body of a passenger, according to Mumbai Customs officials.
The tender to install 30 full body scanners is scheduled to open on June 15.
"It is proposed to deploy machines that are suitable for full body screening of the personnel to detect items such as weapons, explosives, narcotics, currency notes, detonator, precious stones/ metals, diamond, liquids, ceramics, etc.
These machines will be used as a secondary mode of screening based on profiling," the tender documents read.