Hyderabad: Keys of a BMW, gold and diamond jewellery, cash, credit and debit cards, mobile phones, costly watches, iPads... the list of ‘lost’ items is unending. Forgetting is a common problem and thousands of people forget their belongings at airports across the world which, most of the time, are found later.
But at the Rajiv Gandhi international airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad, the problem ofair passengers leaving behind their belongings within the premises is increasing at such an alarming rate that it has ended up keeping the security personnel preoccupied with the “lost and found” items, deviating from their core task of guarding the airport from various threats.
Everyday, on average, there are about 35 to 40 instances, sometimes more than that, of passengers forgetting their articles while flying in and out of RGIA — a figure that has more than doubled when compared to previous years. All that the security personnel now hope and pray is that passengers stop forgetting.
Sources at the RGIA told Deccan Chronicle while the most common articles which people forget are mobile phones, chargers, belts, wallets, power banks.
There have been numerous instances wherein passengers forget their house and car keys, costly wrist watches, laptops, iPads, gold and cash while womenfolk forget their purses with large amounts of cash, make up kits and gold.
Interestingly, a passenger even forgot a baby stroller, someone left behind packets of Karachi biscuits, dates, walking sticks, shoes, used and unused clothes, soaps and packets of pulses and grams. :The most frequently lost items include belts, phones, cameras, iPads, laptops etc as they have to remove them during the security check. We are alarmed at the increasing number of such instances wherein people seem to be forgetting almost everything they are carrying,” exclaimed a CISF official, who is part of the team. He says that in the previous years, there would hardly be about two dozen cases or slightly more. But of late, the forgetting problem among passengers has shot up considerably.
Bomb squad checks lost articles
This is besides the number of items that passengers forget inside the flights which then becomes the responsibility of different airlines!
The extra workload for security personnel begins once they come across or spot the lost articles at the airport. Initially, they try to check up individually with the passengers seated close by whether the item belongs to them. When that does not yield results, the next task is to go through multiple CCTV footage — dozens of them, which can take hours. If the article is found before the security holding area, then the bomb disposal team of the CISF, which obviously goes into a tizzy, first has to scan it to ensure it does not contain any explosives. Thereafter, the lost item is documented, sealed and handed over to the ‘Lost and Found’ department run by the GMR Hyderabad International airport Limited (GHIAL). “There is not much scope for theft as every activity of passengers is monitored,” they said.
Once with GHIAL, the passenger who has forgotten the item either needs to produce his or her boarding pass or in case they wish to send one of their friends or relatives to collect the item, they need to come with an authorization letter. Many who fly out of Hyderabad often get in touch with the CISF officials over email.
“Till a few years ago, we used to get, on an average, 10 to 15 cases but now we get anywhere between 35 and 40 cases every day which goes up during the holiday season when people tend to travel more (and forget more). It is turning out to be a major headache for us but we have no option. The passengers have to be responsible with their belongings. Our core task is to secure the airport and foil any attempt to target it. But this lost and found business is consuming a major portion of the time and involves many of our personnel and it is a huge responsibility as it involves costly items,” said another airport official. “The other reasons could just be that people are so stressed out, that they are no longer aware of their own belongings. Perhaps, they are distracted or even exhausted,” the official said. They say that in maximum number of cases, the property is returned but there are also cases when people just do not turn up as they may have gone abroad. “But every lost and found article is documented and sto
red and we make all the efforts to locate the person and hand over the item,” he said.