CISF to track passenger movement at airports to combat terror threat, congestion | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

CISF to monitor passenger movement at airports to combat terror threats, congestion

By, New Delhi
Jul 21, 2023 12:24 AM IST

A new control centre has been set up at CISF’s Mahipalpur campus to overview 66 airports and ensure a robust security mechanism.

Starting Saturday, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will be able to monitor security and passenger movement at airports , and be able to respond, almost in real-time, to possible terror threats as well as congestion from a control centre that has been set up for the purpose.

Around 25 of the airports have also been equipped with a hotline for communicating sensitive issues to the command centre.(HT image)
Around 25 of the airports have also been equipped with a hotline for communicating sensitive issues to the command centre.(HT image)

The move comes against the backdrop of the need for a more robust security mechanism, and the congestion that major airports such as Delhi and Mumbai faced in the December peak season last year.

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The centre, which will be inaugurated by Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday at CISF’s Mahipalpur campus, will also monitor social media posts by air travellers at the country’s 66 CISF-manned airports. “It will also monitor unauthorised movements, security arrangements, possible terror threats,” officials directly involved in the planning explained.

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“The first-of-its-kind centre, known as Airport Security Control Centre (ASCC), was envisaged by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and the civil aviation ministry, with the help of other airport authorities with a purpose to have an integrated command for aviation security across the country,” one of the officials cited above added, asking not to be named.

“The idea is to have a uniform security plan for all the airports. ASCC will have access to CCTV footage from all the airports to oversee operations in case of any bunching of passengers at departure areas, incidents, suspicious individuals or baggage, and possible terror or hijack threats,” he added.

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Officials from the civil aviation ministry said that around 25 of the airports have also been equipped with a hotline for communicating sensitive issues to the command centre, adding that work on monitoring operations at the Delhi and Mumbai airports has already begun.

According to a second officer, who too asked not to be named, social media posts by passengers regarding security incidents, delays or unruly behaviour by co-passengers, or airline or airport staff will also be monitored. “Once an incident is noticed, the control centre will get in touch with the airport concerned and get it resolved quickly. ASCC will ensure smooth coordination among all the airports of the country,” he added.

The centre, the second officer said, will also work with agencies such as the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Intelligence Bureau (IB), and the local police whenever needed.

CISF’s Aviation Security Group (ASG) provides security to 66 civil airports across the country, including major airports such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Cochin. The paramilitary force is responsible for all airport security.

There are about 125 operational civil airports in the country. Of these, 28 airports including Delhi, Mumbai and Srinagar are listed as “hypersensitive” , and 21 of these are handled by CISF; 62 airports are categorised as “sensitive” based on threat perception, out of which 39 are manned by CISF. The other 28 are categorised as “normal” airports’ from the security point of view. Of these, four are handled by CISF.

MHA, in 2018, prepared a comprehensive note for bringing all the airports across the country under CISF cover.

A parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, in a report in March 2022 recommended the same — that the “government should strive to bring all the operational airports under the ambit of CISF security cover”.

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    I am a principal correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. I track the aviation and railways ministry. I also write on travel trends. I cover the beats at the national level for the newspaper. Before being in Delhi, I have worked as a journalist in Mumbai as well. My hobbies include trekking and travelling.

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