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Luggage tags at airports: CISF opposed to immediate execution of plan

The civil aviation ministry’s plan of doing away with hand baggage tags of fliers may not be implemented quickly as the CISF, which secures the country’s airports, has objected to its immediate execution.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2017 23:36 IST
CISF officials at the Delhi airport. The country’s airport security corps have objected to the immediate implementation of the civil ministry’s plan to do away with hand baggage tags.
CISF officials at the Delhi airport. The country’s airport security corps have objected to the immediate implementation of the civil ministry’s plan to do away with hand baggage tags.(Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times)

The civil aviation ministry’s plan of doing away with hand baggage tags of fliers may not be implemented quickly as the CISF, which secures the country’s airports, has objected to its immediate execution.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), security regulator for civil flying operations, today issued a circular shelving the mandatory practice of putting security tags on hand baggages at seven major airports with “immediate effect”.

“A trial run was run 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.

Read | You no longer need a security stamp on your hand baggage tag at these 7 airports

“Such infrastructure deployment is yet not complete at many airports including some large ones,” a senior CISF official said.

Officials said 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.

He said the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) wants to evolve a “uniform and standardised mechanism” to be put in place so that “no compromise or oversight” in security measures by personnel on ground takes place once the system of stamping tags is shelved.

Officials said the force may not be able to undertake the directive on an “immediate basis” and it is understood that it will write to the BCAS and the civil aviation ministry in this regard.

They said the CISF has also sent a report to the union home ministry on the trials conducted in this regard and a final call will be taken once the ministry in consultation with their civil aviation counterparts vets and approves the plan keeping all “security implications” in mind.

“No doubt that doing away with hand baggage stamping and tags is a passenger-friendly move. It was initiated by the CISF to gauge public response without compromising security at these sensitive installations. While public feedback was very positive, the security angle to the new protocol cannot be ignored,” they said.

The BCAS said the system of putting security stamps on hand baggage tags would be immediately done away with at seven airports - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Cochin.

BCAS also added it is pertinent to mention that the trial run for the same (no hand baggage tag) has already been successfully conducted in two phases after putting in place the “requisite surveillance and monitoring system”.

“The feedback from the trial run has been analysed and a positive response has been recorded,” it added.