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DIAL fails to secure airport perimeter, yet again

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has missed yet another deadline. This time, unlike a delayed new runway or terminal, it’s a high-tech system that is immediately needed to secure its 27-km-long boundary wall.
By Sidhartha Roy | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2010 12:33 AM IST

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has missed yet another deadline.

This time, unlike a delayed new runway or terminal, it’s a high-tech system that is immediately needed to secure its 27-km-long boundary wall.

The airport is expected to get a Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS), which can spot any incursion into the airport (spread across 5,000 acres) and alert security personnel.

The system should have been installed last year itself but private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) is still not sure when the project will be completed.

The latest deadline of the much-delayed project was April 15, which DIAL has once again missed. This, despite three shocking incidents of intrusion into the airport in the last two months.

On February 26, a man scaled the airport’s wall and reached the new runway, disrupting flight movement. On March 27, a man scaled the wall by climbing a tree and managed to reach the area where aircraft are parked. On the same day, a 65-year-old man scaled an emergency gate of the airport and jumped inside.

The airport’s perimeter is guarded by more than 3,500 personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). However, despite regular patrolling, it is not easy to secure an area spread over 5,000 acres.

“Just about anyone, it seems, can scale walls and enter the airport. With the airport figuring high on the hit list of terror outfits, PIDS is urgently required,” said a senior airport official who did not wish to be identified.

The four-layered PIDS includes taut wire, buried cable, CCTV cameras and radars to detect any intrusion in the airport’s perimeter.

“As of now, only the cabling work for PIDS has started and nothing else can be seen on ground. We are not sure if the system will be installed even by next month,” said a CISF official who did not wish to be identified. “The first phase of PIDS installation is almost nearing completion and it is expected to be commissioned very soon,” a DIAL spokesman said.

He said the IGIA and Hyderabad airports are the only ones in India that are being equipped with PIDS.

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