Defective X-ray machines, malfunctioning metal detectors, insufficient CCTV cameras – a security audit ahead of Independence Day has laid bare the vulnerabilities of Delhi airport, which has the capacity of handling 46 million passengers a year.
The internal assessment by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is in charge of safety measures at airports across the country, has identified at least a dozen security concerns at terminal 1D that is used by domestic flights.
The responsibility for maintaining security equipment and purchasing new ones rests with the airport operator, which, in this case, is Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL). CISF has said in its report that DIAL has not responded to a few security observations and correspondences sent by it.
Sources said Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), which frames guidelines for airport security, has asked DIAL to address the issues at the earliest. "The X-ray machine near the materials handling gate at 1D does not meet the BCAS specifications. The conveyor belt is in a dilapidated condition. Regular complaints have been made but the problems have not been rectified," said a senior CISF official.
DIAL, on the other hand, said security equipment is monitored by it on a daily basis in collaboration with CISF through a variety of joint working groups. "As users, CISF personnel promptly flag off instances of malfunctioning equipment. Deficiencies, if any, are immediately rectified as per agreed timelines," said a DIAL spokesperson.
CISF wants new handheld metal detectors at the terminal as the old ones are malfunctioning, and CCTV surveillance at 70 more locations. Explosives concealed in baggage is also an area of concern. "We have only three explosives trace detectors (ETDs) with 14 baggage X-ray machines in the security hold area of terminal 1D. We need at least seven ETDs as per BCAS guidelines," the CISF official added.