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Unclaimed baggage keep BDDS busy

Published : Nov 30, 2015, 6:19 am IST
Updated : Nov 30, 2015, 6:19 am IST

The baggage delivery system of Mumbai airport is the major reason why the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) receives calls at the airport.

The baggage delivery system of Mumbai airport is the major reason why the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) receives calls at the airport. According to a senior official from Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), every month Mumbai airport sees almost 38 to 42 BDDS calls and every normal check by the squad takes 20 to 30 minutes. According to sources from the airport, sometime the terminal or city side area of the airport gets blocked due to these calls, which inconveniences passengers.

According to officials from MIAL, the main reason behind calls to the BDDS is unclaimed bags that are found at the city side, parking, terminal building or waiting area. Every day airport security officials are intimated about at least one such bag, and due to the protocol they call the BDDS team and dog squad, and vacate the area in order to check the bag.

According to the official, “Incidents related to unclaimed bags mostly happens on the international terminal as Rs 2,000 is charged for every extra kilogramme of luggage on international flights. Hence, passengers who have extra edibles, clothes, fruits or some relatively cheap decorative items abandon them in the terminal or city side area.”

While explaining the process of a BDDS call, an officer from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the security agency of Mumbai airport, told The Asian Age, “When passengers notice any unclaimed bag they inform our jawans, MIAL people or ground staff. Then at least 12 to 15 CISF personnel go to the spot, which includes eight BDDS personnel and one or two sniffer dogs, on whose response we open the bag.”

According to the sources from the Mumbai airport, sniffer dogs are not useful when it comes to liquid explosives in almost 90 per cent cases. So even after they sniff the bag, the tension remains unabated until the bomb detection officer opens it.

A senior official from the CISF said that in the last three years, the agency has been seeing unclaimed bags every day but the situation never got out of control thanks to their instruments. “If someone had touched any kind of explosive even a month earlier and the explosive’s marks would remain on object that he touched after that. Our explosive detector trace instruments informs us whether the owner of an unclaimed bag had touched any explosive in recent past or not.”

According to a source, many passengers, after eating fruits or chips, put the peels and wrappers in polybags and leave them under their chairs. Due to one such false alarm, Mira Road resident Neha Somani missed her flight to Dubai last month. “I was already running late and when I reached at the terminal I found that some dogs were there and no one was allowed to enter inside as an unclaimed bag was found. By the time checking was finished, boarding for my Air India flight was already done.”