12:00 AM, March 5, 2009
India is poised to spend $50 million to acquire equipment capable of detecting arms and radioactive substances in containers. These gama ray scanners would be installed at all major ports, including Mumbai, Chennai, Tuticorin and Kandla. The process has already begun and the final bids would be opened on March 16 for at least seven container scanners. Three mobile gama ray container scanners systems and four fixed container scanners would soon be installed at key ports besides the one that has already been installed at Nava Sheva in Mumbai, according to Times of India newsreport. A global tender was floated on January 12 this year for three mobile gama ray scanners while on January 22, the pre-bid meeting was held for four fixed scanners. A lot of container traffic at Kandla in Gujarat, Chennai, Vizag and Tuticorin goes undetected. Some of these containers are believed to contain arms and radioactive material. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had booked a number of cases in recent years where despite a ban, unshreded scrap containing unexploded rocket shells and bombs from Iraq and Somalia had been smuggled into the country and recycled in rolling mills situated in Delhi’s neighbourhood. According to unofficial estimates, over 10,000 tonnes of iron scrap was being imported on a daily basis. Sources said till 2005, the customs officials had seized over 30 tonnes of shells from this scrap and handed it over for safe disposal.