Aviation security experts raised concern over the bitter chemistry between the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the airport Customs, a glimpse of which was witnessed on Wednesday when the CISF stopped guarding two airfield entrance gates for more than two hours.
“This kind of trust deficit among two crucial airport agencies is unhealthy for airport security. Mumbai airport has been a terror target for some time,” said Vipul Saxena, a columnist on aviation security.
Experts claim that the most worrying aspect of such animosity is that these agencies will not share information.
“Intelligence sharing can’t be optional. But if two agencies cannot see eye-to-eye, lapses in the communication channel are bound happen,” said a former Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) official, requesting anonymity.
Since hundreds of construction workers and vehicles frequent the airfield every day owing to the on-going modernisation work, the airport cannot afford a slip at these entry points, added security experts.
“There is a huge possibility of terror elements slipping into sensitive area if the security agencies responsible for manning the gates are caught up in petty flights,” added the official.
Sources said the airport operator would seek the civil aviation ministry's intervention to punish senior officials for throwing their weight around.
“A handful of officials on ego trips, which has disturbed the co-ordination between the agencies. The government should take strict action against such officers,” said an airport official requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.