Worried about the effects of the installation of X-ray scanners at octroi checkpoints on health, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to provide them with the permissible safety limits.
Additional municipal commissioner, Rajiv Jalota said: “We have asked the AERB for their regulations. The project will be finalised keeping those in mind.”
“We are worried about the effect of the radiation on the driver of the vehicle, on the staff at the checkpoint and also on the other people around. So, we have asked the AERB to help us with the specifications and in the process of certification, once the machines are finalised,” said a civic official on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The civic body has shortlisted two technologies — transmission and backscatter — for the scanner. The radiations emitted by the scanners can be strong enough to penetrate through 300 millimetre thick steel sheet.
According to civic officials studying the project, a few companies interested in the project have said that to reduce the effect of radiation, a certain area at the octroi post should be shielded. A tunnel like exclusion zone will have to be created using concrete walls of a particular thickness and radiation level outside the zone will have to be monitored.
The technologies are used in foreign countries in cases where there is a gap between the driver’s cabin and the cargo-carrying compartment of the vehicle. There, the scanners are only activated on the cargo compartment. This cannot be applied in our city as the compartments are attached to most of the tempos and trucks, said the official.
The revenue generated from octroi collection contributes to over one-fifth of the civic body’s Rs20,000-crore budget.
The idea of having X-ray scanners is under consideration for more than five years with the instances of octroi evasion on the rise. The civic body also wants to ensure that there is no degradation in the quality of food items that pass through the scanners.
Consequently, once finalised, the pilot project will be carried out for 15 days. During this period, samples of food items will be tested for quality before and after scanning. The levels of radiation from the scanners will also be monitored during that period, before finalising the contract.