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1,200-plus and counting,seized toy planes pile up at Mumbai airport

The planes and helicopters could have been in child’s toyhouse,but they’re in a warehouse.

Written by Sagnik Chowdhury | Mumbai | Updated: February 6, 2014 3:07:43 pm

The planes and helicopters could have been in child’s toyhouse,but they’re in a warehouse. They’re in an airport,but they’re not allowed to fly. They’re toys,but officials say they’re a threat to security.

Over 1,200 radio-controlled toy aircraft confiscated from passengers have been gathering dust at Mumbai airport. Customs officials say the toys,especially those made in China,violate the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933,and can compromise frequency bands used by security agencies.

“For the past couple of years,after a notification was issued by the ministry of communications and IT,we have been instructed to seize any toy helicopter or aeroplane brought in by passengers since many of them operate on restricted frequencies. There were also security concerns — that the toys could carry small improvised explosive devices for terror attacks,” a senior Customs officer told The Indian Express.

“Unless owners are carrying a no-objection certificate,we seize these toys,” the officer said.

Very few passengers are able to produce the NOC — which is issued by the office of the Joint Wireless Advisor,Regional Licencing Officer (West) in Borivali — Customs officials said.

“Over 1,200 toy aircraft are lying in our warehouse at the international airport,along with other confiscated items like saffron and perfumes,” said the officer. “We don’t know what to do with these toys,and have sought directions from the Central Board of Excise and Customs. We can’t sell them due to the security threat. We might have to destroy these toys eventually.”

The Commissioner of Customs at Mumbai airport issued instructions in 2010 that all toys not operating on the allocated frequencies of 27.250 MHz and 27.260 MHz should be confiscated.

A senior Customs commissioner in Delhi said toy aircraft that violate the frequency band are seized. “Although there has been no major seizure at Delhi airport,but officials do keep an eye out for such toys,as it is also a violation of the Telegraph Act,” he said.

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