After years of deliberations, a full-body scanner will be made operational by end-November at the IGI airport Delhi as part of enhanced security and counter-terror measures. This is for the first time such a scanner, till now opposed over privacy concerns, will be installed and made operational for a trial at any civil airport in the country, officials said.
The machine can handle around 250-300 fliers in an hour and its operating system and software can be tuned as per the requirements of Indian security protocols, they said, adding the machines are being used by some European airports and have been found to be successful in scanning the fliers there.
The scanner, procured from a German firm, works on the Millimetre Wave (MMW) Technology which does not give out the exact body contours of a flier under inspection at the scanner but puts out a ‘generic mannequin’ figure depicting only metallic and non-metallic objects on an individual’s body, they said.
The scanner, they said, works by way of ‘targeted search’ and looks out for prohibited items that can be concealed in the body like liquid gels, plastic items, ceramics, cutters, recording devices and metallic and non-metallic items like knives and other weapons.
The officials said that while some airport staff had already been put under training to work on the scanner, the most important part of the training of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel will begin from Monday and about 50 master trainers of the force will be skilled on the machine.
They said the machine scans a person in few seconds when he or she stands in a stationary position at the designated spot inside a box, which is connected to a monitor, and analyzed by a trained CISF personnel.
In case, there is some suspicion about a flier, he or she will be made to undergo full-body frisking, also called pat down search, by a CISF official, else they can just walk out of the scanning box to catch their flight, they said.
The manufacturers of the machine claim that the rays emitted from the scanner are less harmful than X-rays as they do not penetrate through the body.
“All these features are subject to the trial after which a final call will be taken about the new scanner,” they said.