Lock­down delays truck scan­ner project at At­tari

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTPUNJAB - Anil Sharma anil.ku­mar@htlive.con

AM­RIT­SAR: The coro­n­avirus-in­duced na­tion­wide lock­down has hit the op­er­a­tion of the full-body truck scan­ner in­stalled at the in­te­grated check­post (ICP) At­tari, which fa­cil­i­tates In­dia’s trade with Afghanista­n and Pak­istan through the At­tar­iWa­gah bor­der.

Of­fi­cials of the Land Ports Author­ity of In­dia (LPAI), which man­ages the ICP’s af­fairs, said they are wait­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Atomic En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Board as a team of ex­perts could not visit the ICP for hold­ing the scan­ner’s trial due to lock­down.

The truck scan­ner project cost­ing Rs 23 crore was an­nounced in March 2017 by then Union min­is­ter of state for home af­fairs Ki­ran Ri­jiju. Of the five truck scan­ners im­ported from the US, the first one has been in­stalled at the ICP, At­tari, to scan con­cealed nar­cotics and weapons be­ing smug­gled from Pak­istan.

The Cen­tre had sanc­tioned five FBTS for At­tari–Wagha in Pun­jab, Poonch–Chakkand­abad and Uri–Salam­abad in Jammu & Kash­mir on the In­dia-Pak­istan bor­der, Pe­trapole in Kolkata at In­dia–Bangladesh bor­der and Rax­aul in Bi­har on In­dia–Nepal bor­der.

Since the foun­da­tion stone of the ICP was laid in 2010, there has been a de­mand for a scan­ner as man­ual check­ing of ve­hi­cles by cus­toms of­fi­cials with the help of snif­fer dogs is not 100% er­ror­free, and has some­times led to clear­ing of the con­tra­band.

“The con­struc­tion and in­stal­la­tion works of the scan­ner have been com­pleted. We are now wait­ing the AERB team’s visit. The team couldn’t reach here due to the coro­n­avirus-in­duced lock­down. The scan­ner emits ra­di­a­tion. Once we get cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the AERB, the scan­ner will be made op­er­a­tional. We have al­ready put for­ward our re­quest to the AERB to con­duct the scan­ner’s trial,” said the ICP’s in-charge Sukhdev Singh.

“In Novem­ber last year, an AERB team had vis­ited and dur­ing the trial of the scan­ner, a tech­ni­cal glitch was de­tected. The glitch was re­paired by an US-based en­gi­neer. Now, the scan­ner is all set to be op­er­a­tional.”

With the im­po­si­tion of the na­tion­wide lock­down, the move­ment of trade with Afghanista­n thor­ough the ICP was also sus­pended for at least two months. The cross-bor­der trade re­sumed from May 28, but only a few trucks have been im­port­ing goods from Afghanista­n.

But trade with Pak­istan is at a stand­still since the New Delhi’s ac­tion of re­vok­ing the erst­while Jammu and Kash­mir’s spe­cial sta­tus. The project, which com­menced in March 2018, has so far missed sev­eral dead­lines. In July last year, the spe­cial cell of Delhi Police seized 50kg heroin eval­u­ated at ₹200 crore from a cold stor­age lo­cated in Haryana’s Sonepat.

HT FILE

Land Ports Author­ity of In­dia (LPAI) of­fi­cials say they are wait­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Atomic En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Board as a team of ex­perts could not visit the ICP for con­duct­ing the scan­ner’s trial due to lock­down

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