The Customs Department will soon be installing scanners for inspecting the baggage of marine crew at the Krishnapatnam and Kakinada seaports. The move is aimed at eliminating any scope for smuggling gold and cigarettes and Indian currency hidden in the baggage of the crew of Indian and foreign vessels anchoring at the ports. The scanners are also meant to see through the provisions supplied to the ship crews.
Customs Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh S.K. Rahman said that contraband like gold bars and narcotics could be easily smuggled by stuffing them in baggage and it was not possible to open each one to check them physically.
The scanners make instant verification possible with little manual intervention. Krishnapatnam Port Customs House would get a container scanning machine by the end of the financial year 2016-17. Installing one such machine at Kakinada port would take more time.
“The growing container traffic handled by Krishnapatnam port made the installation of large scanning machine there essential. Trucks carrying the containers have to pass through the huge scanning apparatus and the result will be known immediately,” Mr. Rahman observed. The Kakinada deepwater port has started facilitating the movement of containers only five months ago. Therefore, installing a scanner on that port premises would take longer time. A relatively small cargo scanner has just been inaugurated at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Marripalem in Guntur district.
Costing about Rs.1.30 crore, this scanner can give both horizontal and vertical images within no time. This machine was set up, according to ICD Manager Sandeep, to inspect export consignments of tobacco, cotton and spices without causing any damage and possible contamination which happen when the tightly compressed cartons are opened.
It is one of the eight such big X-ray scanners installed at customs houses across the country. The foreign sub-post office coming up in Vijayawada and Gannavaram airport will have one such scanner each later this year.