Installed at a cost of around Rs 23 crore at India’s first Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari, the Full Body Truck Scanner (FBTS) has been scrapped by the agencies concerned, which have now put up a demand before the central government to install a new FBTS with additional features even as there is zilch Indo Pak trade but trading activities with Afghanistan are on the rise from ICP Attari.
According to a special report by Senior Journalist Ravinder Singh Robin, Custom Commissioner Rahul Nangare said, “The FBTS presently installed at ICP, Attari by the Land Port Authority of India. (LPAI) is not functional. It is learned that the same has now been scrapped by them. We will be taking up the matter for installation of a new FBTS at ICP both with LPAI and Central Board of Direct Taxes and Customs (CBIC)”.
In a move to strengthen the security of ICP and prevent smuggling of contrabands including arms, ammunition, drugs etc. the government had decided to install FBTSs at Attari, Petrapole, Raxaul, Poonch-Chakkanda Bagh and Uri-Islamabad barriers and had even floated global tenders.
Before installation of FBTS, the trucks arriving or leaving the ICP, Attari were randomly checked but when the FBTS failed to deduct the contrabands it forfeited its very purpose and was finally scrapped by the concerned agencies even after the teams of experts couldn’t rectify the fault. Now once again the trucks arriving or leaving the ICP are manually checked which takes a lot of time besides leaving a possibility of error.
For now, there is no trade with Pakistan owing to various reasons but the trade with Afghanistan is going on and in the recent past empty trucks are arriving at ICP from Afghanistan after passing through Pakistan territory to take back the wheat aid given to Afghanistan by India.
“We have so far dispatched 8000 metric ton wheat to Afghanistan and another 2000 metric ton will be dispatched this week, thereby completing the first tranche of 10000 metric ton. We have now received a schedule from the Ministry of External Affairs for the dispatch of next 10000 metric tons of wheat and we are confident that the same will also be dispatched smoothly,” said Nangare.
The FBTS, an X-ray device, began functioning in September 2021 at ICP, Attari but it failed to detect the contrabands. Notably, in 2017 , the then minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had announced the installation of five FBTS at various borders.