In se­cu­rity boost, 39 air­ports to get hand-held ex­plo­sive scan­ner

Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - - Nation - Faizan Haidar faizan@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■

NEW DELHI: Small air­ports will soon get an ad­di­tional layer of se­cu­rity, with the Air­ports Au­thor­ity of In­dia (AAI) procur­ing real-time view­ing sys­tems for 39air­ports, in­clud­ingBhopal, Dehradun, Trichy and Jodh­pur, two of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said.

The equip­ment is es­sen­tial for the func­tion­ing of bomb de­tec­tion and dis­posal sys­tems and used for the de­tec­tion of weapons and ex­plo­sives through a hand­held de­vice.

In April, Hin­dus­tan Times re­ported that only six of the 61 air­ports guarded by the Cen­tral In­dus­trial Se­cu­rity Force (CISF) are equipped to defuse and dis­pose of ex­plo­sives.

Bomb de­tec­tion and dis­posal squads were op­er­a­tional at the air­ports in Delhi, Mum­bai, Chen­nai, Kolkata, Cochin and Hy­der­abad, and fol­low­ing three rounds of meet­ings with civil avi­a­tion min­istry, Amritsar air­port also joined the list.

Air­ports re­quire 28 pieces of equip­ment in­clud­ing ex­plo­sive vapour de­tec­tors, bomb dis­posal suits, and re­mote-op­er­ated ve­hi­cles for mak­ing ex­plo­sive de­tec­tion and dis­posal squads op­er­a­tional, ac­cord­ing to rules speci- fied by the Bureau for Civil Avi­a­tion Se­cu­rity (BCAS).

The real-time view­ing sys­tems (RVTS) will make it eas­ier for se­cu­rity per­son­nel to iden­tify a po­ten­tial threat in an aban­doned bag.

“This will help to eval­u­ate threat ob­jects from a safe dis­tance and iden­tify the best method for dis­posal. RTVS is used for de­tec­tion of threat items such as ex­plo­sives and weapons. It can be a valu­able aid in as­sess­ing and de­fus­ing im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices (IEDs) by help­ing se­cu­rity per­son­nel eval­u­ate threat ob­ject from a safe dis­tance and iden­tify the best method for dis­posal,” said AAI in writ­ten re­sponse to a query from HT.

Pri­vately run air­ports and 18 AAI air­ports had the sys­tems in place by 2012. AAI is procur­ing the sys­tems for 39 more air­ports at the be­hest of the BCAS.

The RTVS con­sists of a light­weight, com­pact X-ray source and an imag­ing unit that are po­si­tioned on op­po­site sides of the tar­get ob­ject, plus a stan­dard note­book com­puter for con­trol­ling the sys­tem and analysing images.

“This is like a hand­held X-ray ma­chine which can be used to scan aban­doned bags. Where it is not avail­able, we have to rely on ex­plo­sive de­tec­tor and wait for state po­lice to come with the equip­ment. Now, the threat, if any, can be iden­ti­fied in no time,” said a CISF of­fi­cial, re­quest­ing anonymity.

A com­mit­tee of sec­re­taries in 2011 had ad­vised in­stalling bomb de­tec­tion and dis­posal gad­gets at 18 air­ports in the first phase. Amritsar, Chen­nai, Guwahati, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmed­abad, Cali­cut, Tri­van­drum, Sri­na­gar, Goa, Bag­do­gra, Jammu, Leh, Pune, Agartala, Im­phal, Raipur and Varanasi were cov­ered in the first phase.

“The equip­ment will be very use­ful in the area be­fore the se­cu­rity check-in as the de­vice can iden­tify sus­pi­cious item in the bag. The in­te­gra­tion of tech­nol­ogy with hu­man re­source is very im­por­tant,” said Arvind Ran­jan, for­mer di­rec­tor gen­eral of CISF.

EQUIP­MENT IS KEY FOR FUNC­TION­ING OF BOMB DE­TEC­TION AND DIS­POSAL SYS­TEMS AND USED FOR DE­TEC­TION OF WEAPONS AND EX­PLO­SIVES THROUGH A HAND­HELD DE­VICE

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