If you are travelling out of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), you might be asked to go through full body scanner Monday onwards.
A scanner has been placed at Terminal 3 for trial run. It will not be mandatory for passengers to go through the scan though. “We will make the checks compulsory only when the scanners are permanently placed here,” said an official from the Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
Sources said this scanner will produce mannequin-like images. Being aware of the objections raised by passengers over X-Ray images that body scanner produced in airports across the world, the BCAS asked the manufacturers to configure the machines to ensure that the images don’t reveal body parts.
The scanner with ‘millimeter wave technology’ has been brought from the United States and another one from Germany will arrive next week. “We want to test both the technologies simultaneously and then decide which one to procure. During the trial run, passengers’ feedback will be taken . We want to cover most of the passengers travelling out during the trial period,” said the official.
During this period, passengers will be requested to go through the body scanner after they have collected their boarding pass. It will, however, be mandatory for every passenger to go through the normal security check.
The security agencies had a series of meetings on the use of body scanner and it has been decided that scanners with less harmful rays and objectionable image will be installed at the airport by the end of this year.
“Irrespective of the controversy surrounding it, we had always wanted these scanners at the airport since the beginning. A discussion to install shoe scanners was also held but nothing has been finalised on this front,” said a BCAS official.
The trial run has been started from the Delhi airport and initially it will not be mandatory for the passengers to go through it. Only highly suspicious passengers will be asked to go through body scanner or those, who voluntarily want to go through it, can use it.
A few years ago, a similar trail run was conducted at the Delhi airport and a US based company had installed the body scanner which can detect contraband and explosives hidden inside the body of a person. A survey conducted during the first phase of trial run revealed that 90% passengers feel the new technology will be helpful, but only 40% volunteered to go through the scanner.
The entire scanning process, which does not take more than a minute, also comes with privacy filters, the use of which is optional for the official manning the machine. The scanner can reveal plastic and liquid explosives, composite weapons, plastic and metal guns, drugs and other contraband, ceramic and metal knives, box cutters, precious metals and recording devices.
During the trial run, passengers will be requested to go through body scanner. It will not be mandatory
People will still have to go through manual frisking
- Uses super-low 30-300 gigahertz electromagnetic waves - less radiation than what is produced by an average cellphone - to scan the objects that are put under the scanner
- Passengers don’t have to worry about being exposed to radiation. The scanner produces radiation that is equal to what you receive in an aircraft flying for two minutes at 30,000 feet.
- The energy is non-invasive and safe for pregnant women and people with pacemakers or metal implants (plates, screws etc)
- There is no health risk from repeated exposures