Kuldeep Tiwari (MeraNews, Ahmedabad):Beware if you are travelling from Ahmedabad International Airport; there are very high chances your luggage can go missing, only to keep you wondering if you will get back, ever.
In an eye opening incident at the Ahmedabad International Airport, Semein Ahmedi, resident of Saraspur area, lost her luggage from the green channel area while her luggage was screened by the customs officials.
The 36 year old interior designer was travelling from Dubai to Ahmedabad with her mother. The incident took place on September 13, at 4am at the custom’s area while their luggage was being screened.
According to Semein, her bag that is missing from the green channel carried valuables worth Rs 1.5 lakh with valuables like DSLR camera worth Rs 95,000, chocolates worth Rs30,000 and cash around Rs15,000 along with important documents.
To her surprise, the CCTV (closed circuit television cameras) footage she had demanded doesn’t have the details of the green channel where the scanning of the luggage took place. The reason given to her is, “The custom’s area (green channel) doesn’t have CCTVs.”
“The high security Ahmedabad International Airport doesn’t have CCTVs, in the most sensitive area; why,” questioned the young professional who had to struggle for 10 days to get the CCTV footage from the airport authority.
The struggle doesn’t end here. Semein has been trying for last 20 days to lodge an FIR with the Sardarnagar Police Station so that case can be officially investigated by the police and the criminal can be caught.
The Ahmedabad airport, the eighth busiest airport in the country, is supposed to be tightly secured place. The entire place is closely monitored by the CCTV cameras placed all over the place. But the most crucial area of the airport, from where the customs authorities inspect the luggage of the passengers ‘Green Channel’ has been missing the CCTV equipment. Shockingly, even the airport director is unaware about the security lapse in the green channel.
There have been many other cases of passengers complaining of similar incidents but couldn’t complain to avoid conflicts with the authorities or get into hassles of round in the police station. The Green Channel inspects the luggage which comes under the customs’ scanners. What happens to the luggage is a mystery for the passengers.
On the September 13th, Semein Ahmedi landed at the Ahmedabad airport from her Emirates Flight EK 538, Reference number GMBENJ seat number 20J, from Dubai at 3 am. Narrating the disturbing experience, Semein said, “While we were getting the luggage scanned at the scanner number 1, I and my mom were called by the customs officer. When we went to them they said nothing and asked us to go. We were surprised with such an act.”
She further said there were two loaders and two customs officials. One loader took our luggage for scanning and the other offloaded it, while we were called again by the officials. Since it was too late we came out in rush and immediately realized a cabin bag missing. I went back and found there was there were none to answer.”
According to Semein, she was on the gate and in hardly 10 minutes the officials vanished from the custom’s counter. Moreover, how can the bag go missing from such a high security zone, is bothering me till date.”
Thereafter Semein turned from pillar to post in the airport to seek her missing luggage, but there was nobody to respond.
When Semein went through the footage, she found that the most important part where her luggage gets scanned in the ‘Green Channel’ of the customs department, there was no footage. When asked about it, she found that there were no CCTVs monitoring that important area, as per the airport authority’s claim.
When contacted Ahmedabad Airport Director, Manoj Gangal said, “The requirement for the CCTV monitoring is basically for security purposes but it also has many other advantages. But it is such a huge set up (airport) I need to look into it, the specific area you are talking about and I need to ascertain that it doesn’t have any CCTV monitoring and until than I cannot comment on it.”
The director regretted the incident that happened with Semein. “It is really regretful that such a thing happened. I will look into that too” said Gangal.
However, the question is, “why it is taking the airport director so long to check if the CCTVs are available or not, while Semein has got footage showing missing CCTVs in the custom’s area or green channel area?