Customs warns Tvm, Karipur airports; NOC to be revoked if scanners not installed

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The government had installed a scanner worth Rs 50 lakhs, however, it got damaged within a few weeks. It was not repaired despite the request from customs department.

Kochi: Thiruvananthapuram and Karipur International airports do not have scanners to examine the cargo reaching the airport. Customs department had warned the government of this even before the Thiruvananthapuram Gold smuggling case. Guidelines mandate that scanners are necessary to maintain the international status of an airport. Customs may warn the government that if scanners and other security systems are not installed in the airports it would have to reconsider the NOC already issued.

Without these safety features, both the airports are helping those smuggling gold into the state. The smugglers are being nabbed only because of the alertness of the customs and security officers.

The government had installed a scanner worth Rs 50 lakhs, however, it got damaged within a few weeks. It was not repaired despite request from customs department.

It is reported that the customs commissioner is firm on his demand of installing new scanners. A group of security experts had recommended certain shops inside the Karipur airport to be shifted after examination. Usually smugglers leave their bags and packets in the airport, which will then be picked up by someone else. It is reported that these bags and packets are under the surveillance of such shops.

Meanwhile, NIA will take the prime accused in Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair to Thiruvananthapuram for collecting evidence along with Sarith, another accused in the case.

Karipur airport director, K Srinivasa Rao, responded that it is the responsibility of KSIE of state government to install X- ray unit for examination of cargo. Airport authority is responsible only for luggage checking as part of security.

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