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Stamping of passenger hand baggage tags to continue at Amritsar airport

The decision was taken considering the airport’s proximity to the Pakistan border and the two hijack incidents there.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2018 11:07 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Amritsar airport,Hand baggage tags,Hand baggage
CISF personnel stand guard outside Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport in Amritsar.(HT File Photo)

The passengers travelling out of Amritsar airport will continue to have their hand baggage tags stamped owing to ‘sensitive’ security status of the airport, a Central Industrial Security Force official said.

The decision was taken considering the airport’s proximity to the Pakistan border and the two hijack incidents there – Indian Airlines flight IC 814 from Kathmandu to New Delhi was hijacked and taken to Amritsar and later to Kandahar in 1999 and another IA flight from Delhi to Jodhpur was also hijacked and taken to the same airport in 1982.

“We are confident of doing away with this practice at all the airport by the end of this year. However, due to the security concerns and location of Amritsar airport, it has been decided to keep it away from this practice. This will be an added security feature there,” said MA Ganapathy, ADG (airport) of CISF.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which provides security to 59 airports across the country, has done away with the baggage tag stamping at 31 airports in a phased manner and trial has been successfully completed at another six. By the end of this year, the system will be discontinued at every airport under CISF cover except the Amritsar airport.

The CISF had started trial runs at seven metro airports in December 2016. Following this the stamping was discontinued at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmadabad and Cochin airports.

The decision was taken after CISF pilot project showed it would save time and put an end to long queues at security check counters. They found the system could be dispensed with after certain modifications of security architecture in security hold areas of the airports and the installation of high definition CCTV cameras. These modifications were required to make sure that passengers could not access bags containing restricted items which are segregated by CISF personnel for checking.

Explaining the rationale behind such decisions, former Director General of CISF Arvind Ranjan said, “It all depends on intelligence input at that time, if they are saying Amritsar airport is sensitive, we have to believe them. The Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) must have done all the trials as they have strict standard. It will not compromise the airport security and aviation security in India is the best.”

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 11:06 IST