Following a Rs 12 lakh opium haul from a private bus last month, the Anti-Narcotic Cell (ANC) of the city police have asked tour operators to install metal detectors, baggage scanners at boarding points to screen passengers’ luggage.
After issuing guidelines to private transport operators on Wednesday, the ANC had called for a meeting at its office, which was attended by 50-60 operators.
“The recovery of opium from a luxury bus reveals that drug peddlers use transport buses to smuggle contraband into the city. This happens because tour operators do not screen the luggage properly before loading it into the vehicle,” said API Vinod Patil. He added that the department has taken strong cognisance of the issue, and has asked transporters to install metal detectors and screeners to check passengers and their luggage.
Patil said that the tour operators have also been asked to take down all the possible information about the drivers, cleaners and the attendants.
“We have also asked the operators to make announcement asking passengers to check if there is any suspicious or unattended luggage below their seats. Also, we have asked them to display numbers of police control room, police station, fire brigade etc, which can prove handy in case of emergencies,” he said.
Patil added that the ticket-booking agents too have been asked to take complete information (name, address, contact number) of the passengers while booking their tickets. Patil warned that if in case contraband is seized from any private bus, case would be slapped against the tour operator for not taking precautionary measures and helping the smuggling of the contraband.
However, the transporters are miffed with the new diktat and claim that it’s practically impossible. Arjun Aaidasani of Chintamani Travels said that it is impossible to install metal detectors and baggage scanners at all boarding points, because it is unaffordable and practically impossible. “We do follow the other guidelines quite religiously.
Besides, as people opt for online booking these days, their information gets automatically recorded,” he said.
Aaidasani also objected to the police that the bus driver, cleaner and the operator will be booked if any contraband is found in the vehicle. “It is impossible to check each and every passenger manually,” he said.
The ANC had arrested one person from Sangamwadi Luxury Bus Stand in Shivajinagar, who had brought the contraband to city from Nagpur. Besides, the cop had arrested the driver and the cleaner of the bus — owned by Khurana Travels — for neglecting safety and security concerns.
“While investigating the case, we found that the consignment was loaded in Nagpur and that the driver and bus cleaners did not check the baggage properly before loading it in the vehicle.”