Situated amid thousands of hutments from Kurla to Andheri, the city airport boundary is finally getting the much awaited security cover.
The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) began the installation of the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) a three-tier surveillance system on airport’s boundary last week. PIDS consists of infrared rays, close circuit television cameras and radio frequency to curb trespassing. A security alarm will start ringing if anyone tries to jump the airport walls.
According to MIAL’s report submitted to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the aviation security regulator, the airport boundary has been divided into 31 zones, with measuring approximately 500 metres.
“The entire installation will take about a year but the system will become operational in phases,” said a MIAL spokesperson. He refused to divulge the deadline for starting the first phase citing security concerns.
It took more than three years to start the project because PIDS installation requires several tests and trials, said airport officials. In 2007, the BCAS had mandated all Indian airports to use this technology to secure their boundaries.
The advance security system would ease the pressure off security personnel at the airport, which has been pre-occupied tackling at least one terror alert a week.
“The PIDS cover would enable us to tighten surveillance inside the terminals,” said a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
While passenger volumes have increased by 21% since 2006, the number of CISF personnel at the airport is 2,000, against a requirement of 3,000.
The airport has also witnessed stray cases of trespassing from the neighbouring slums. For instance, a 10-year-old from the Kurla slums was caught wandering close to sensitive parking bays in March 2009.