India’s hijack hotline cold since it started
The hotlines between the government’s super-sensitive anti-hijack control room at the Cabinet Secretariat office in Rashtrapati Bhawan and the Delhi airport haven’t been working properly for more than a year since they were installed. Tushar Srivastava reports.india Updated: Jul 22, 2010 00:57 IST
The hotlines between the government’s super-sensitive anti-hijack control room at the Cabinet Secretariat office in Rashtrapati Bhawan and the Delhi airport haven’t been working properly for more than a year since they were installed.
In fact, at present, the dedicated secure lines — that are the safest and fastest mode of communication in case of a hijack — aren’t working at all.
The Cabinet Secretariat and the Airports Authority of India have reportedly written numerous letters to MTNL to keep the lines in working condition during the last one year but with little success.
“Both lines are not working properly since the inception… despite efforts at different levels with MTNL,” one such letter said. “Since these lines belong to a very sensitive unit of Government of India and are established in the national interest, serviceability of these lines at all times is essential.”
MTNL did not comment on this story.
Two dedicated lines — also called tie lines — were provided between the COSAH (Committee of Secretaries on Aircraft Hijack) control room, situated at Rashtrapati Bhawan, and Terminals 1 and 2 of IGI airport. COSAH, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, is the apex government body to deal with a hijack.
“The lines need to be in a fully functional state and need to be checked daily,” said another letter, that also specified the time – 8-8:30 am, 2-2:20 pm and 8-8:30 pm — when the phone lines need to be checked daily.
The COSAH control room earlier functioned from the Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan headquarters of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.