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CISF not to handle baggage X-ray's at airport


Karma Paljor,CNN-IBN
Apr 04, 2008 at 10:53pm IST

New Delhi: The civil aviation Ministry has turned it down the recommendation that the CISF should take charge of passenger baggage related checks.

On Thursday, Kingfisher Airlines flight IT 801, from Hyderabad to Delhi, with 90 passengers on board was aborted shortly after take-off. The flight was aborted mid-air after smoke detectors went off in its cargo hold.

A bottle of liquid, which DGCA sources later identified as detergent, spilled onto a white powder, producing smoke. The liquid was cleared during the baggage check because the operator was not trained in handling dangerous goods.

Shockingly, the operator again passed the same liquid during a mock drill at the airport on Friday.

Due to an increased threat perception, the Bureau of civil Aviation Security had recommended that X-ray of passenger baggage be done by the CISF and not by airlines. However, in a shocking move the civil aviation Ministry has turned it down.

In a letter available with CNN IBN, dated March 20th, the Civil Aviation Ministry said that CISF has been assigned anti-hijacking duties and the baggage X-ray scans are an anti-sabotage activity.

The letter also said that an airport operator certified by the Bureau of civil aviation security should do X-ray screening. The CISF supervision may not be insisted upon. If an airport operator does not want to carry out the function, it should be done by subsidiary companies of the national carrier or a joint venture.

Security agencies say baggage X-ray should be performed by a government force currently the CISF. Sources say the ministry turned down the BCAS recommendation under pressure from airport operators.

However, the government says all functions relating to passenger baggage, is globally done by airport operators and that there is no need to do things differently in India.

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