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CISF warns of airports turning chaotic and unmanageable

The situation is no different at other airports. The growth in the aviation sector in the past few years has now forced the CISF to alert the central government about the need for extra security personnel at airports.

delhi Updated: Nov 25, 2017 23:34 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CISF,Airport,Airport security
CISF security personnel during the security check at IGI Airport T3 in New Delhi. (HT File Photo)

Passenger load at the Delhi airport, India’s busiest, increased by 20 million in the past five years but the strength of security personnel remained unchanged, prompting the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to warn the Centre that airports can turn ‘chaotic and unmanageable’ if immediate steps are not taken to expand infrastructure.

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport handled 81% extra passengers in March 2017 in peak hours compared to March 2013 but the number of CISF personnel remained the same—4,300. In 2013, the Delhi airport handled overall 36 million passengers every year compared with 56 million in 2017.

The situation is no different at other airports. The growth in the aviation sector in the past few years has now forced the CISF to alert the central government about the need for extra security personnel at airports.

In its report, ‘Future Projection September 2017’, the CISF, which provides security to 59 of the 98 operational airports, listed its requirement for aviation security over the next five years.

The force, in the report it compiled and sent to the ministry of civil aviation and the ministry of home affairs in September this year, demanded 19,000 personnel for aviation security, of which at least 4,000 immediately for metro airports across India.

“Despite the huge increase in passenger volume during peak hours, the security infrastructure and manpower have remained the same, resulting in congestion at security checkpoints and undue pressure on security personnel for speedy clearance,” the report states.

The total passenger traffic at all airports increased by 65% in the last five years. But during peak hours, it varies. It is an 81% increase in Delhi, 132.22% in Bangalore, 89.81% in Kolkata, 48.15% in Ahmedabad, 62.78% in Mumbai and 84% in Lucknow during peak hours.

The CISF said they were not compromising with security but the staff crunch increased the workload for the staff. The force said it had often had to deploy personnel from other duties for airport security.

“The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) says India is the third largest domestic air travel market globally in 2016. However, the growth has come in the middle of an infrastructure crunch, especially at busy metro airports, which is getting worse by the day due to the over 20% rise in traffic (year on year),” the report states.

For the CISF, another major concern is that flights are increasingly being bunched together during morning and evening peak hours.

Director general of CISF, OP Singh, confirmed that the report had been submitted but refused to share more details.

CISF sources said the requirement for more staff had been conveyed to the Centre several times earlier but the last major sanction of posts was made around the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

“The time slots are already overcrowded. Any addition of new flights in the already congested time slots means a larger number of passengers has to be cleared by CISF without any increase in personnel and security infrastructure. This results in long queues and congestion at security check points,” the report states.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 09:30 IST