Stamping of passengers' hand baggage at seven major airports, including Delhi and Mumbai, will be done away with from April 1. The other airports that will begin the new procedure from the morning of April 1 include the ones in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Cochin and Ahmedabad.
"The procedure of stamping and putting tags on the hand baggage of passengers will be dispensed with from April 1 at seven airports. We have put in place the required security systems that will help us in ushering in this passenger- friendly move," CISF Director General O P Singh told PTI.
The move, the CISF chief said, will enhance "passenger experience and provide hassle free security environment to them".
"All issues resolved; no more stamping of hand baggage at 7 airports from April 1. Delhi-Mumbai-Kolkata-Hyderabad- Ahmedabad-Bengaluru & Cochin (sic)," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in a tweet.
A senior officer involved with airport security said over 300 smart and high definition CCTV cameras have been deployed at these airports and the length of rollers at the baggage checking x-ray machines has been increased so that all the bags are thoroughly cleared and doubtful ones are segregated by security personnel.
They said at least 80 new CCTV cameras have been deployed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) alone.
Similarly, the Mumbai airport has got an equal number of smart cameras to keep an eye on "every nook and corner" of the security-hold areas of the airports, they said.
"A good number of these cameras are equipped with the PTZ facility. This means that these cameras can pan, tilt and zoom into a suspicious area and even a person," the officer said.
By having the stamped tags on the hand baggage, the security personnel used to be assured that no weapon or ammunition like material enters the aircraft with the passenger and now with the deployment of smart cameras and re-positioning of security paraphernalia, the same objective will be achieved, the officer said.
The CISF, which had earlier blocked the move that was announced unilaterally by aviation security regulator -- the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), has also been assured by the airport operators at these seven facilities that a good number of cameras will have power backup facility in case of an outage.
The DG said the force wants to initiate the same protocols of doing away with baggage stamping and tagging at all the 59 airports under its cover.
"We will do this at all the airports in due course of time. A trial and assessment at other airports will be undertaken and then it will be done," he said.
Singh said his personnel have been updated about the new protocols and that he himself had seen the preparations made at the Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports yesterday.
A committee comprising officials of the CISF, BCAS and airport operators has been recently constituted to smoothen the roll-out of this new protocol.
This was done after a recent high-level meeting chaired by Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and his counterpart in the Civil Aviation Ministry Jayant Sinha, in which the earlier BCAS order was stayed.
The CISF said had sought modifications in airport security for doing away with hand baggage stamping and "to make sure that passengers could not access bags containing restricted items which are segregated by CISF personnel for checking (after X-ray scanning)".