BENGALURU: Frequent breakdowns of luggage scanning machines at Metro stations is causing delays to passengers. In such a scenario, bags are physically checked, resulting in a long queues during peak hours.
Apart from the annoyance caused to passengers, the hasty checking of bags compromises on security.
The reasons for the machines conking off are many. The luggage scanner at Cubbon Park Metro station abruptly stopped last week. “The conveyor belt got cut. We have made a call to the contractor and it will soon be set right,” explained a Metro official.
Power failure was specified as the reason when one of the machines at Vidhana Soudha Metro station was found not working last month.
At Kempe Gowda Metro station, which sees crowds throughout the day, one luggage scanner is working while a brand new machine has been installed. “Since the machine we are operating presently suffers disruptions sometimes, we have been directed to use this standby machine,” a security personnel said.
Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola said, “We are aware of the matter. We are facing problems because these machines have been hired by Metro on a temporary basis from contractors. Metro is now planning to purchase its own scanners and install them.”
When asked about the difference this could bring about, Kharola said, “Once we take over the maintenance aspect, we can ensure the scanners function uninterrupted. Metro is now dependent on the contractor to ensure its functioning.”
“The contract runs for different periods in different stations. Whenever the contract expires, we will have our own machines,” the MD added.
The manual checking is far from satisfactory, a few feel. Kirtana Singh, a regular commuter from the Mysuru Road Metro station, says, “The checking is done as a formality. Once, I was carrying a knife in my handbag. When the scanner detected it, I told them it was for cutting fruits at office. They let me board the train along with it. This really made me wonder about how safe commuters actually are when the people who are checking appear to be so naive.”
Another commuter Regina Reddy said, “I sometimes give a slip to the machine due to the queues and go to the cabin where physical checking is done.”