Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A bomb under your seat?

Mumbai: They may have stopped you from carrying liquids while boarding your flight. But right under your seat, in the huge belly hold of the aircraft, lies tons of cargo the contents of which are hardly known to any of the security agencies.
There could not have been a more glaring faux pas.
"Customs officials randomly check cargo containers. The airline puts them through an X-ray machine, which is of little help in detecting the contents," said a cargo official.
The Tayal Committee formed for the purpose in December 2004 had submitted its report to the civil aviation ministry in May 2005.
It recommended the formation of 'account customer' (cargo handlers who send cargo only through freighter aircraft), 'regulated agents', and 'known consigners' and set the security measures these three had to follow to ensure that only safe cargo got into passenger aircraft.
The civil aviation ministry sent back the recommendations to the bureau of civil aviation security for reconsideration. It has been pending since. Sources said the very influential cargo handlers lobby has been opposing the recommendations.
16/08/06 Manju V/Times of India