The clearance of passenger's baggage at airports

GoP and Philips agreement for x-ray scanning of passenger's baggage at airports

From YOUSAF RAFIQ
Special Correspondent, Islamabad
Dec 13 - 19, 1999

In order to facilitate passengers, control smuggling and eliminate complaints of import of commercial goods in the garb of passenger's baggage, Government of Pakistan has entered into an agreement with M/s Philips Electrical Industries (Pakistan) Limited, aimed at x-ray scanning of the baggage of the passengers, incoming and outgoing through international flights, in the case of airports at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta and through train service between India and Pakistan, in the case of Wagah Railway station. Pursuant to the said agreement necessary electronic equipment including CCTV and baggage scanning machines have been made operational with effect from December 4, 1999 at the aforesaid places. The Central Board of Revenue has devised the following procedure with a view to provide a mechanism for smooth operation of the baggage scanning system.

International arrival hall

The equipment i.e. baggage scanning machines, CCTV, etc installed at the custom station shall be made operational as per the agreement between the M/s Philips Electrical Industries and the Central Board of Revenue. All baggage including hand baggage of the incoming passengers shall pass through the scanning machines. However, all incoming passengers will have an option to declare dutiable/contraband goods at the "Voluntary Declaration Baggage Counter", specially setup for the purpose, before their baggage is passed through the scanning machines. The baggage scanning machines shall generate a serially numbered machine number for every package that is passed through it. The machine number shall be in a running serial order for every day commencing from 00 hours. The baggage scanning machines shall be manned and operated by M/s Philips. Their machine operator assisted by a Customs Officer, deputed by the Shift Incharge of Customs, shall identify baggage containing dutiable/contraband goods to the best of their knowledge and ability and shall affix a sticker carrying the serially generated machine number as aforesaid. The serial number on the sticker shall written by the machine operator and signed by the assisting customs officer, using indelible ink. The machine operator shall record this event in his own register, which shall be counter signed by the assisting customs officer and the baggage would be directed towards the customs examination counter for examination by customs officer. Any baggage which has passed through the scanning machine, and is found not to contain any dutiable/contraband goods, would be allowed clearance immediately. This would be in consonance with the "Green Channel" facility. Such baggage once cleared, shall only be examined on the order of the Shift Incharge of Customs, who has sufficient reasons to believe that the "baggage" contains dutiable/contraband goods. Such examinations, however, shall only be conducted under very special circumstances and under the direct supervision of the Shift Incharge. The Shift Incharge shall record such examination in a register maintained for the purpose. At the examination counter the baggage shall be received by the Customs officer. Before the examination of the baggage, the customs officer shall write down the particulars of the passenger as well as the machine number on the Passenger's Baggage Assessment Slip. All the contents of the baggage shall be noted down in the Assessment Slip.

One copy of the Assessment Slip shall be retained by the passenger and the other shall be kept for Customs record and subsequent audit.

International departure

All the baggage of the outgoing passengers including hand baggage shall pass through the baggage -scanning machine. However, outgoing passengers will have an option to declare any dutiable/contraband goods being taken out of the country, before the baggage is passed through the scanning machines. The machine operator assisted by a Customs Officer, deputed by the Shift Incharge of Customs, shall identify baggage containing dutiable/contraband goods to the best of their knowledge and ability and shall affix a sticker carrying the serially generated machine number as aforesaid. The serial number on the sticker shall written by the machine operator and signed by the assisting customs officer, using indelible ink. The machine operator shall record this event in his own register, which shall be counter signed by the assisting customs officer and the baggage would be directed towards the customs examination counter for examination by customs officer. Any baggage which has passed through the scanning machine, and is found not to contain any dutiable/contraband goods, would be allowed clearance immediately. This would be in consonance with the "Green Channel" facility. Such baggage once cleared, shall only be examined on the order of the Shift Incharge of Customs, who has sufficient reasons to believe that the "baggage" contains dutiable/contraband goods. Such examinations, however, shall only be conducted under very special circumstances and under the direct supervision of the Shift Incharge. The Shift Incharge shall record such examination in a register maintained for the purpose. At the examination counter the baggage shall be received by the Customs officer. Before the examination of the baggage, the customs officer shall write down the particulars of the passenger as well as the machine number on the Passenger's Baggage Assessment Slip. All the contents of the baggage shall be noted down in the Assessment Slip. One copy of the Assessment Slip shall be retained by the passenger and the other shall be kept for Customs record and subsequent audit.

M/s Philips Electrical Industries (Pak) Limited shall ensure smooth operation of the equipment. If there is a failure of equipment due to technical or any other reason the Shift incharge of customs shall immediately record the event in a register especially kept for this purpose. Such instances shall also be brought to the notice of the concerned Assistant/Deputy Collector of Customs Incharge on daily basis. The Company shall make recording of CCTV observations areas utilizing the installed equipment. Images shall be recorded on a single VHS cassette using a Philips dual head time lapse recorder. The company shall also maintain duplicate record of films in its own premises in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad for maximum of 120 days or lesser as required by CBR, in terms of the agreement. M/s Philips will provide to the CBR at the end of each month a breakdown of Systems Operations statistics showing due performance of the "Systems Operations" and the CBR at its own costs shall have the right audit directly or through independent auditors the statistics provided hereunder for determining compliance by the Company with the minimum uptime obligation set out in the Agreement.