With union home minister Rajnath Singh visiting the Attari border on Sunday, hopes revived that the visitors’ gallery will be expanded soon, but there is a bleak feasibility of the border getting fully-body truck scanners in recent future.
Since the gallery at Attari was built long ago, footfall of the visitors over the years to watch the beating retreat ceremony has multiplied enormously, posing a big difficulty to the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel to accommodate all of them in the given space. Thousands of tourists throng the border ever evening to witness the high-voltage ceremony.
As the existing gallery has capacity to accommodate only about 5,000 people, the capacity of the new gallery has been increased for more than 15,000 visitors. The new design will not only accommodate more people, but also provide better seating arrangements.
The MHA had sanctioned `24 crore for the project in October 2013. Though the project was to be completed in 21 months, it is yet to take off. However, with the union minister scheduled to lay the foundation stone on Sunday, the hope for the project has revived. Rajnath, who is scheduled to visit the border at around 3.30pm, will lay the foundation stone of the project and will also be taken for a camel safari, which is a part of the ongoing Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the BSF.
Rajnath will be the third home minister to visit Attari ever since the Integrated Check Post (ICP) came up there; the other two were P Chidambaram and Sushil Kumar Shinde.
But, the full-body truck scanner, which can play a pivotal role in ensuring hi-tech security and scanning of trucks plying between the two nations, is still missing. However, Pakistan has put in place two such scanners, but Indian side is yet to get one.
Speaking on the issue, RTI activist PC Sharma said, “Not having a full-body scanner is a serious lapse. I have written 16 letters to the government, including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), but things have not moved.”
“This scanner is very important for keeping a close tab on all products coming from Pakistan. Rajnath Singh must ensure that Attari soon gets a full-body truck scanner,” the RTI activist further informed.