KOCHI: The tepid response from truck drivers and cargo movers to the newly-installed drive-through scanner at the Valarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) here has put the Customs authorities here in a fix. Though a couple of awareness sessions to convince the stakeholders of the scanners’ safety were indeed organised by the Customs House, Cochin, they failed to allay the apprehensions on the radiation emitted by the device.
Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar said the Rapiscan model Eagle P60 Drive-through container scanner had become operational ever since its installation in October. The machine was imported from the US and it adheres to the guidelines laid down by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). “It should be noted here that a mere 12 per cent of the containers from the 16733 import containers which arrived at the ICTT underwent scanning in November,” he said in a release.
“Scanning starts only when Driver cabin crosses and there is a 50 cm- gap separating the driver cabin from the container. There are no radioactive materials in the container scanner. The scanning enables inspection of dense cargo, verification of manifest and identification of contraband such as weapons, explosives and narcotics. Similar scanning machines are working in the country’s other ports, including Mundra, Jawaharlal Nehru Port(JNPT) in Mumbai and Krishnapattanam. The conveyer belt- based scanners are being replaced by Drive-through scanners in most of the ports. It takes only 13 seconds to scan a container using the modern scanning system,” he said.
Sumit Kumar said if there is indeed misinformation on the scanner it is highly regrettable.
Charles George - Container Monitoring Committee convener - said drivers complained of difficulties while driving trailers and trucks through the scanning machine. He said authorities should appoint own drivers to navigate the trucks and trailers through the scanning machine. “We are not against Drive-in scanning machine. The authorities should allay the concerns. We urged port to appoint their drivers at the scanning places who can drive in the trucks and trailers through scanning machines. But the port is not ready to do it,” he said.