As per a verbal mandate given by the higher officials of Customs, the mandatory hand baggage checking at the green channel of the Customs clearance of International Airport has been scrapped.
The bags passing through the green channel, which is for passengers not having any dutiable goods or other items for which declaration is required, are now being checked randomly since a week.
“Screening the hand baggage of each passenger was a must but now not every passenger will have to wait for the checking, thus reducing the passenger rush. This will help the passengers especially during the peak hours,” said a Customs officer.
The intention behind this move is to reduce the load of passengers and prevent overcrowding, but experts believe that this will also be a smooth passage for smugglers.
“There have been cases of cigarette smuggling; huge amount of saffron have been caught in the hand baggage of the passengers in the green channel before the mandate. Smugglers were more scared when the compulsory checking was in place. Though there are many checking points in the Mumbai airport, this order will somewhere reduce the fear,” explained a senior officer, on condition of anonymity.
Rajiv Ranjan, Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Airport Customs said, “All the modifications are being done according to a recent passenger’s survey report, which had maximum dissatisfied passengers in green channel. This simply means that all suspicious passengers will be checked and frisked but not each and every passenger.”