As part of the plan to increase security at major and sensitive airports, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is likely to get body scanners on a trial basis by the end of the year.
Body scanners have been controversial from the very start with many pointing to the technology disrespecting the privacy of the passengers. But airport authorities seem to be determined to go ahead with the proposal.
“Irrespective of the controversy surrounding it, the CISF has wanted it at the sensitive airport from the very beginning. We feel the new government is more serious about it as the home minister is taking the issue of aviation security very seriously.
A discussion to install shoe scanners was also held but nothing has been finalised on this front,” said a senior official of the Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), requesting anonymity.
The security agencies have had a series of meeting on the use of the body scanner.They believe it is feasible to install a body scanner with harmless scanning technology at the airport by the end of this year.
During the trial run, it will not be mandatory for passengers to go through the scanners. Only highly suspicious passengers will be asked to subject themselves to the device. Passengers may voluntarily pass through the scanner too.
“We are in talk of a technology that doesn’t throw images of private parts of a body and only focuses on suspicious items. Two different technologies will be tested, and the best one will be installed,” the official added.
A few years ago, a similar trail run was conducted at the Delhi airport and a US-based company had installed a body scanner that can detect contraband and explosives hidden on a person. A survey conducted during the first phase of the trial run revealed that 90 percent passengers at airports feel the new technology is good for security but only 40 percent of them volunteered to go through the body scanning procedure.
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 security official manning the machine.
The body scanner can reveal plastic and liquid explosives, composite weapons, plastic and metal guns, drugs and other contraband, ceramic and metal knives, box cutters and recording devices.