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Private airports in security upgrade

An array of men and machines will ensure that your plane journey is as safe as can be. From increased security professionals to high-tech gadets, the five private Indian airports are readying to get terror-proof. Samiran Saha takes stock of the latest arrangements.

business Updated: Dec 02, 2008 20:50 IST
Samiran Saha

An array of men and machines will ensure that your plane journey is as safe as can be. From increased security professionals to high-tech gadets, the five private Indian airports are readying to get terror-proof. Samiran Saha takes stock of the latest arrangements.

Delhi, Hyderabad
Security layers have been increased in the two GMR-managed airports to make airside and city side impregnable. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which guards all airports and important industrial installations, has been put on “high
alert”, with the National Security Guards (NSG) commandos on standby.

It has procured two ground bomb killer blankets (GBK) — underground sensors that detect the presence of explosive material and minimise the impact of explosion — for use in terminal buildings.

Passengers will now be frisked at four levels — terminal, online baggage system, cabin baggage and before entering the aircraft.

The Delhi airport will have 205 close-circuit cameras tracking passenger movement, while the Hyderabad airport already has more than 300. The Delhi airport also has its dedicated sniffer dog squad in place, being handled by CISF.

The four-layered perimetre intrusion detection system (PIDS) will be installed around the Delhi airport shortly. This system can track any intrusion into airport land.

Explosive detection system — an instrument that detects presence of explosives by catching its vapours — the first of its kind, will be installed.

“For us, any airport is an installation of utmost importance and significance,” a top CISF official told Hindustan Times.

“With the backdrop of Mumbai terror attacks, every airport in the country has been put under very, very high alert.”

Mumbai, Bangalore
If you see a lack of activity in the Mumbai airport, it’s because of the pulling out of entry of labourers following the terror attacks in the city. Simultaneously, layers of security have been beefed up at the Mumbai and Bangalore airports, both managed by GVK.

The frequency of specialised airport protection teams — adequately armed personnel, drawn from across security agencies — has been increased.

Two hourly checks to be carried out by airport managers and airline staff have been initiated. They will report all activities to the CISF control room at the respective airports.

In addition, the company has introduced secondary ladder checks to be carried out before passengers board the aircraft.

Passengers have been advised to be patient for their own safety.

Dustbin checks will now be carried out after every 15-20 minutes by the airport staff.

Visitors won’t be allowed inside the terminal building, while vehicles will not be allowed to park in front of the terminal.

At X-ray counters, checked-in baggage will now be screened. This will include random checks of hand baggage even after screening.

Kochi
Cochin International Airport Ltd will now review security deployment every three days, instead of seven. Security is also being increased on airside and city side of the airport, with the number of personnel being raised substantially.

Surveillance systems have been spruced up, airport intelligence has been enhanced, and check-posts on the city side will now be manned by heavily-armed police and para-military professionals.

While no new temporary staff is being issued permission to enter the airport, they will undergo a thorough frisking, while entering and exiting the airport. There will also be a fresh review of records of all staff deployed at the airport.

CISF has cancelled the leave of all personnel deployed for security at this airport.