The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which guards nine cargo terminals in the country and will soon be entrusted with 12 more, is now seeking the right to screen consignments on arrival. The absence of the same is a major security issue.
Talking to The Hindu, Additional Director General (Airport) O.P. Singh said: “The very reason we were told to guard these cargo terminals in the first place was because there was a perceived terror threat in light of some intelligence inputs. Then there is the issue of theft as well as attempts by cargo companies to save on freight by under reporting the quantity. We should be allowed to screen the shipments to be fully assured of the contents inside.”
Currently the containers are screened using X-ray machines by private security personnel employed by cargo companies. Companies sending the consignments have to declare what is being sent and the consignments are forwarded only after they are cleared by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.
However, the CISF’s security check upon arrival of these consignments is limited to deployment of sniffer dogs. This is in contrast to the role played by the security force in passenger security, where the personnel thoroughly frisk passengers and screen the luggage before it is loaded.
The CISF was asked to guard eight major airports in 2010