Aviation safety regulator of India has planned to introduce full-body scanners at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport “on a trial basis”, and will be fully in use if passengers have no objection. Full-body scanners, which are used in airports in Western countries, show the full contours of the human body which goes under the scanner in order to detect foreign objects which may be carried by the passenger. India generally uses metal detectors in airports. The main advantage that the body scanners have over the metal detectors is that it can see under passenger’s clothing and detect plastic explosive and other suspicious non-metal objects.
Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has settled for machines which produce mannequin-like pictures which have been a topic of much debate, HT reported. According to the report, Terminal 3 of the Delhi airport will get the full body scanner on a time trial basis, along with a possibility of a shoe scanner. In the initial days, passengers will be asked and they can go through the body scanners if they please. Only passengers with suspicious content may be asked to go through them without asking for permission. Five years ago, similar trials were conducted at the Delhi airport, but less than half of the passengers volunteered. Even the jawans who were checking the monitor were reported to have been embarrassed.
According to a Telegraph report, the Government has planned to launch an awareness campaign in newspaper and television. The scanners used in Western countries have a computer program which does not allow the images to be saved, and the person viewing them cannot see the face of the passenger. Intelligence agencies of India have long been demanding the use of full body scanners, but the Centre has been avoiding it as it may land in a political soup.