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New device at Chennai airport to detect explosives in unclaimed baggage

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ADVANCED INSTRUMENT: Demonstration of the explosive trace detector in Chennai on Tuesday.
ADVANCED INSTRUMENT: Demonstration of the explosive trace detector in Chennai on Tuesday.

P. Oppili

CHENNAI: A new equipment to detect explosives and narcotics from unclaimed baggage will be introduced soon at the Chennai airport.

On an average 30 items of unclaimed baggage are found on the airport premises in a month.

Airports Authority of India officials said under the existing system whenever an unclaimed piece of baggage is found on the premises, the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad is summoned to check it for explosive substances.

With the new equipment, the authorities could easily detect the presence of any explosive or narcotic substance in a bag, the AAI authorities said.

A small round chemically treated paper used for a swab. The paper had to be fixed in a baton like material. Whenever an unclaimed baggage was found, one had to move the baton on the baggage and insert the paper portion into the equipment, to get the result. A single sampling swab could be used for 20 times, said the officials.

In case the bag contained explosive substances one could see them displayed on the monitor, attached to the equipment.

The AAI authorities said the equipment, bought at Rs 40 lakh apiece, was imported from Germany.

The AAI Headquarters would purchase nearly 200 detectors and the Chennai airport would get a dozen of them, said the officials. The airport has received five.

A representative of the company who supplied the equipment said “It is a highly sensitive analytical instrument that uses ion mobility spectrometry technology to simultaneously detect and accurately identify trace residues of a wide variety of narcotic and explosive substances.”

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