Hand baggage tags at 7 airports scrapped; CISF not on board

Hand baggage tags at 7 airports scrapped; CISF not on board

The Civil Aviation Ministry today decided to do away with security stamp on hand baggage tags at seven airports but the move appeared to have run into rough weather with CISF opposing its immediate execution.

In a circular today, civil aviation security regulator BCAS said the system of putting security stamp on hand baggage tags would be immediately done away with at seven airports -- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Cochin.

However, officials at CISF, which secures most of the airports, said the force may not be able to undertake the directive on an "immediate basis". "A trial run was conducted by the CISF at few airports to see if hand baggage tags could be done away with. The trial was found to be successful but a feedback was drawn which required deployment of requisite security gadgets, CCTVs and smart cameras in the airports terminal before such an initiative can take off.

"Such infrastructure deployment is yet not complete at many airports, including some large ones," a senior CISF official said. Last year, the authorities had started trial run with respect to doing away with security stamp on hand baggage tags at these seven airports.

BCAS said it is pertinent to mention that the trial run for the same has already been successfully conducted in two phases after putting in place the requisite surveillance and monitoring system.

About the circular, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said, "We expect considerable improvement in security check time and passenger experience with this change".

A Civil Aviation Ministry official said the circular would be applicable for domestic as well as international passengers. BCAS has also said that airport operator shall ensure that the requisite monitoring system is maintained all through at PESC (Pre-embarkation Security Check) points.

While BCAS said the circular would be effective immediately, CISF officials said that during a meeting of aviation regulators, airport operators and the CISF, it was decided that such measures should be deployed by March 31 so that all airports can be brought under the new initiative.

Moreover, CISF is yet to receive an official copy of the circular, they added.

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