The Centre will have to arrange for thermal body scanners at Pune and Nagpur airports in a week to check passengers landing from Ebola-affected countries, following a direction of the Bombay high court on Thursday.
The division bench of justice AS Oka and justice GS Kulkarni is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former scribe Ketan Tirodkar that has sought measures to be implemented to anticipate and prevent the entry of the virus into the country.
The Centre filed an affidavit on Thursday informing the court that two body scanners had been sent for repairs and that it would take four months for them to be ready, but that they were trying to get scanners from elsewhere. The scanners are already in place at Mumbai airport.
“If you get it after four months, what is the use of that?” asked the bench. “If you delay, no purpose is served. You have to procure and give it to the state government.”
The Centre’s counsel Rui Rodrigues said it was in the process of getting scanners from other airports where there weren’t passengers landing from affected countries. The scanners can detect even the slightest temperature rise, and those with higher temperatures are further checked, the court had been earlier informed.
“The Union of India has accepted that thermal body scanners are necessary as part of the setup to deal with patients arriving from Ebola-affected countries,” said the court, before directing them to make the scanners available.
The Centre also informed the court in response to a query that no vessels from affected countries were arriving at ports here, but that measures were in place there too.
The matter will be heard after a week.