CBEC floats tender for sub-standard GAMMA scanners

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New Delhi, Feb 17: The Central Board of Customs and Excise (CBEC) has floated a tender for procurement of GAMMA scanners, which do not match the quality of such devices available in the global market. The tender is for purchase of three mobile scanners, for Chennai, Kandla and Tuticorin Port, that has the penetration power of 150 mm of steel.

''But, there are scanners available in the global market that have a higher level of penertration power with the ability to scan through 200 mm of steel,'' the sources said. Mobile scanners are used for scanning containers in ports and borders to check hidden arms and ammunition and other items like bombs and explosives. These scanners are required as a measure of security on the ports, because every container cannot be inspected manually.
The Board has zeroed on to just gamma-ray scanning systems, that ignores the scanning of the x-rays. CBEC had already purchased the same kind of scanner from the US-based ECIL/Rapiscan in 2003 for JNPT, Mumbai. ''The images transmitted by the system were not very clear, which was a major shortcoming... the purpose for which it has been deployed was defeated,'' the sources said.

The other problems included short-circuiting of PCBs, failure of hydraulic system, water seepage and poor images on the scanner. The scanner haS limited utility for handling metal scrap, dense chemicals, agri items and sea products. ''CBEC had paid 9.57 crores for that mobile GAMMA scaner which was normally sold by Rapiscan for less than four crores in the US,'' the sources said.


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