Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fingerprint scanner at airport to check illegal migration

Ahmedabad: Birds might have a free run at the city airport, but ‘kabootars’ will now be easily hunted down here. Armed with a fingerprint scanner and an electronic passport reader, Ahmedabad airport, infamous as an easy gateway for people flying with forged documents, pledges to make flying impossible for illegal migrants.
The Bureau of Immigration (BOI) will soon provide the scanner to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport. The scanner will record fingerprints of all international flyers flying in or out of Ahmedabad. The scanner, installed at all major international airports, will allow immigration officials to check previous fingerprint details of the flyer recorded at other airports. The electronic passport reader, which was installed recently, can read passports of all countries and ascertain its authenticity.
“After the new international terminal began operational last year, no case of people flying in or out of Ahmedabad with fake documents has been reported, except one case where a Rajasthan-based laborer was deported from Dubai airport. But looking at the notorious history of Ahmedabad airport the new machines were necessary to make it impossible to get away with fake documents,” said a senior immigration official at Ahmedabad airport.
City airport authorities have seen many cases where passports, visa stamps, stickers and documents were forged or imposters were sent on original documents. The notoriety of Ahmedabad airport has in the past attracted illegal migrants from different corners of India and even Sri Lanka as an easy gateway to foreign destinations.
“We have had many cases of people flying to Dubai and Singapore from Ahmedabad with fake passports or visas. In few cases they were deported but many managed to settle there as illegal migrants and were caught when trying to come back,” the official said.
In fact, the city airport has seen many cases of people from different states using it as a gateway to fly to foreign destinations on forged documents. The buzz among city immigration officials is high that they might be soon replaced by Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs). However, there is no official confirmation on the same.

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