Body scanners at Indian airports may not happen this year as the case appears to be entangled in lengthy bureaucratic processes. For a few years now, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been pushing to install these scanners at several airports across the country to replace existing metal detectors and handheld scanners. But several round trips between different departments delayed their arrival.
Deadline likely to be missed
Indian airports may not see body scanners offered by the end of this year as originally expected. According to a report by the Hindustan Times, the AAI will soon launch a tender, but there has not yet been financial approval from the Department of Investments and Public Investments.
An IAA official said they would send out a request any day and expected to receive approval soon. Still, it will likely take some time between issuing a tender and awarding the bidder to order the machines, and a deadline of December 2022 does not seem sufficient to implement the plan successfully.
The AAI official added,
“The AAI can complete the bidding process and issue the letter of award to the successful bidder by the end of this year. Body scanners are heavy items and are only manufactured when an order is received. Given the situation, it is very unlikely that the country’s airports will be equipped with body scanners by the end of the year. »
Indian airports still use door frame metal detectors and handheld scanners. Photo: Getty Images
Considered for years
The government has been planning to install body scanners for many years now. But several privacy, radiation and false alarm concerns have delayed the project over the years. In 2019, the central government had ordered 84 airports across India to install full-body scanners by March 2020. But the COVID outbreak and airport closures have delayed those plans.
In 2020, the AAI issued a tender for the purchase of 198 body scanners for 63 airports following a circular from the Civil Aviation Security Bureau, but the Ministry of Civil Aviation only approved the purchase of 98.
A revised decision to purchase 131 scanners has been made, and IAA will send details of financial approval soon. Each scanner is expected to cost just over $500,000, including annual maintenance fees.
Push for cutting-edge technology
Indian authorities plan to equip the country’s airports with the latest security technologies, including body scanners and biometrics. In April, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture took note of the increase in crowds at Indian airports and submitted a report to parliament suggesting the use of biometric technology to speed up security checks. security.
The committee noted that the current system of scanning passengers using door frame metal detectors (DFMD) and handheld metal detectors (HHMD) is outdated and that other less intrusive methods should be used.
More than 25 airports in India are classified as hypersensitive, including those in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Srinagar, Jammu and in the northeast, while more than 50 airports are classified as sensitive.
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Source: Hindustan time