No X-ray screening for disabled at airports
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.