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LACK OF SCANNERS INCREASES SECURITY THREAT TO INDIA’S LARGEST CONTAINER PORT – JNPT

jnpt-port-1In what should be a major security concern for the authorities, one of the major entry points into the country, JNPT, is very poorly secured. Officials have confirmed that only 10% of the containers off-loaded at India’s largest container port, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) at Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai, are scanned. The JNPT handles 65% of the container traffic that comes into the country. One of the factors contributing to this is that the port, which has a heavy traffic of cargo ships coming in daily, has only two scanners. As a daily average, 5,000 containers reach JNPT; only 500 are scanned while the rest are cleared without any kind of checks. Each container has a berthing period of 37 hours. When that lapses, the containers are cleared even if they have not been scanned. Goods are usually checked if there is any intelligence of suspicious material in any container. But even then, the containers are only manually checked.The two scanners have a capacity of scanning 15 to 20 containers an hour and the process continues round-the-clock. To add to this, manual checks are done but it is not possible to stop and check every container coming into the port as it would disturb the complete supply system and port traffic. Once the container is cleared, there are no checks at all and it directly reaches the person or company to whom it is consigned. Once it passes the Customs checks at the port, then there are no further checks on the mainland. Custom Commissioner at JNPT Sunil Bhargav informs that due to lack of security machines, there is a lot of pressure on officials. He admitted that they do have informers and remain alert but a scanner of international standard is needed. He said that the most difficulty arises in those containers which are completely sealed for the purpose of import and export. Looks like despite the 26/11 that exposed how weak we are on the security front, the centre and state are yet to wake up to the security concerns at JNPT. Monika Bhosale – NMTV News.

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