Six more airports in the country could soon do away with the practise of stamping passengers hand baggage tags, after few prominent ones ushered in the new system from April 1.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), tasked to guard 59 civil airports in the country, today initiated a week-long trial of the new system at the airports of Chennai, Patna, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur and Lucknow.
Beginning April 1, the CISF has already done away with the system at seven such air facilities in Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
"The week-long trial at these six airports will end on April 30. We will take a call based on the results and the assessment.
"If all the security concerns are found satisfactory, we will be ushering in the new regime of non-stamping of the hand baggage tags at these six airports very soon," said CISF Director General O P Singh.
The trial will ensure that adequate security gadgets and logistics are provided at these six airports so that full proof security measures are in place once the stamping of the hand baggage tags procedure is discontinued.
By having the stamped tags on the hand baggage, the security personnel used to be assured that no weapon or ammunition like material enters the aircraft with the passenger and now with the deployment of smart cameras and re-positioning of security paraphernalia at the seven airports, the same objective is being achieved.
The procedure remained a major irritant for passengers and they have made many complaints in this regard to airport authorities saying this system poses hassles for them as it consumes time and in case they forget to get it tagged, security personnel would ask them to go back and get it done.
The output roller trays at the seven airports, which have initiated the new drill, have now been extended in order to provide more visual clarity to the security personnel on each and every bag even as they have been instructed to minutely go through the x-ray images before clearing the hand bags.
COMMITTEE FORMED TO EASE NEW PROTOCOL
A committee comprising officials of the CISF, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the airport operators has been recently constituted to smoothen the roll-out of this new protocol at all the 59 airports guarded by the paramilitary force.
This was done after a high-level meeting chaired by Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and his counterpart in the Civil Aviation Ministry, Jayant Sinha, in which the earlier BCAS order about stamping the hand baggage tags was stayed.
The meeting while staying the BCAS order had sought a thorough review of the security apparatus before the new measure could be launched.
The CISF said it had sought modifications in the airport security for doing away with the hand baggage stamping and "to make sure that passengers could not access bags containing restricted items which are segregated by CISF personnel for checking (after X-ray scanning)".
DG Singh had said the new measure will enhance "passenger experience and provide hassle free security environment to them" while travelling through the airports.
The new protocols are only meant for domestic passengers and those travelling to international destinations will have to get their hand baggage tags stamped as usual.