No X-ray screen­ing for dis­abled at air­ports

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY -

New Delhi: Peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties won’t have to face lengthy and “hu­mil­i­at­ing” se­cu­rity checks at air­ports any­more, with the Cen­tral In­dus­trial Se­cu­rity Force is­su­ing guide­lines on how to scan pas­sen­gers on wheel­chairs and those wear­ing pros­thet­ics. While ear­lier, PWDs were re­quired to go through an X-ray screen­ing, now check­ing with a hand-held ex­plo­sive trace de­tec­tor (ETD) de­vice will suf­fice. Pas­sen­gers will be asked to go through an X-ray screen­ing only if there is “suf­fi­cient doubt”.

In ad­di­tion, they won’t have to re­move their pros­thetic limbs for se­cu­rity check. The de­ci­sion came af­ter a meet­ing was held on Wed­nes­day be­tween of­fi­cials of CISF, the air­port sec­tor, BCAS and the min­istry of civil avi­a­tion and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of NGOs work­ing for PWD rights.

Ear­lier, a com­mit­tee had been con­sti­tuted to re­view the se­cu­rity-check process based on BCAS pro­vi­sions to make it more “friendly” for PWDs. Of­fi­cials said stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures would soon be for­mu­lated, which will be used across all 59 air­ports un­der CISF.

“All is­sues were ad­dressed at the meet­ing, fol­low­ing which it was de­cided to tweak the sys­tem of frisk­ing of such pas­sen­gers. Now, a vis­ual in­spec­tion and an ETD hand­held de­vice scan­ning will suf­fice while wheelchair-bound pas­sen­gers will also get re­lief,” said O P Singh, CISF DG.

CISF of­fi­cials said the screen­ing of­fi­cer would also be re­quired to make an en­try into a regis­ter each time he sub­jected a PWD pas­sen­ger to an X-ray screen­ing, stat­ing the rea­son for do­ing so. “We are look­ing at any tech­no­log­i­cal aid that can fur­ther make this process eas­ier. CISF per­son­nel at all 59 air­ports will now be trained and sen­si­tized ac­cord­ing to the new pro­ce­dures,” Singh added.

Dis­abil­ity rights ac­tivists wel­comed the move, say­ing it was long over­due. “It’s hu­mil­i­at­ing to get off the wheelchair and re­move pros­thet­ics for scan­ning. More peo­ple will look for­ward to fly­ing again,” said Javed Abidi, direc­tor, Na­tional Cen­tre for Pro­mo­tion of Em­ploy­ment for Dis­abled Peo­ple. Su­varna Raj, a wheelchair-bound para-ath­lete who has of­ten faced in­con­ve­nience at air­ports, said the move would lead to greater ac­count­abil­ity.

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