The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s plans to detect octroi evasion using X-Ray scanners may end up leading to traffic congestion at the five entry-exit points to the city.
Because of this, the civic body’s proposal to install the scanners has hit a roadblock.
After having doubts over the permissible radiation limits and health hazards caused by radiations emitted by the scanners, the civic body had approached the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for assistance.
The AERB recommended a few precautions. Some of them were that a vehicle cannot be scanned with a person inside it, mobile scanners be mounted on a vehicle and vehicles with cargo be scanned after the driver is asked to get out.
The AERB also recommended the BMC to have trained staff at the nakas and to monitor radiation emitted from the scanners.
“The problem is that if we ask the driver to get out of the vehicle and then scan it, there will be a lot of traffic near the already congested nakas. The only solution to the problem will be to scan random vehicles. However, this will defeat the purpose,” said a senior civic official, on condition of anonymity.
AERB officials, along with senior civic officials, visited an octroi naka in the city earlier this month.
The civic body short-listed two technologies, transmission and backscatter, for the X-Ray machines. The radiations emitted from these machines are strong enough to penetrate 300mm thick steel slab.
“AERB officials told us that the image obtained of the low density cargo through the transmission technology is of poor quality. So now we will have to decide which of the two technologies to choose from, depending on the kind of cargo that enters the city,” said the officer.
The revenue generated from the octroi collection constitutes over one-fifth of the civic body's Rs20,000 crore budget.
The BMC has been toying with the idea of having X-Ray scanners for more than five years because of the increasing number of octroi evasion cases.
Meanwhile, the BMC’s doubts about the effect of radiation on food items when they are scanned have been put to rest by the AERB after officials confirmed that the food would not be affected of the radiation.