The next time you take an international flight from Delhi to Mumbai, don't be surprised if the Customs officers screen you at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Senior Customs authorities in Mumbai have issued orders to screen fliers travelling by international airlines on domestic routes.
The recent incidents of smuggling of memory cards - have forced the Customs authorities to adopt this new vigilance method.
Earlier fliers travelling by international airlines on domestic routes were allowed to leave the airport without being screening.
Smugglers seemed to take advantage of this. The accused would come from international destinations and hand over the consignment to their accomplices, who would join them as domestic passengers on the same flight, while on board or in the transit lounge.
Vigilance will be stepped up in the transit lounge area. “But officers have to be careful and not to offend genuine passengers,” said a senior Customs official, requesting anonymity.
The authorities have also identified some sensitive routes. “Domestic passengers on flights arriving from sensitive destinations like Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Bangkok via Delhi will be watched,” the official added. Memory cards are mostly smuggled from these places.
Additional Commissioner of Customs, Air Intelligence Unit, B.S. Nunwal refused to speak on the newly adopted vigilance method. “We cannot disclose our planning. But we should be able to catch the smugglers by using our methods.”