Parliamentary panel calls for comprehensive security policy for airports

Parliamentary panel calls for comprehensive security policy for airports
With some hypersensitive and sensitive airports still not under CISF’s specialised cover, a “concerned” Parliamentary committee has called for a comprehensive aviation security policy before a “major untoward incident” takes place.

The Parliamentary standing committee chaired by Trinamool Congress MP K D Singh said there are “several gaps and lack of unified command and control over multiple agencies” involved in securing airports.

The panel was surprised to note that eight out of 26 hypersensitive, 19 of 56 sensitive and 12 out of 16 normal airports were not under the security cover of paramilitary force CISF, which has now become the “only specialised force” for aviation security. State police provide security for those not covered by CISF, which was deployed since 2000.

At present, 18 hypersensitive airports like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Amritsar are under the CISF cover. Some of the sensitive airports covered by CISF are Agra, Thiruvananthapuram and Patna.

“Now the question is who is guarding these airports and how secure are these airports? In these existing threat perceptions at our airports, the country can ill-afford such a situation to continue any more,” the panel said in its report “Issues Related to Security at Airports in India”.

Latest threat inputs on airports include use of surgically implanted explosives for interference in civil aviation operations, IEDs hidden in printer ink and toner cartridges, hijacking using trained pilots and forcible intrusion at smaller airports.

“Funds should not come in the way of providing security…The committee feels that ideally, the CISF security cover should be provided to all the airports which are having normal schedule operations,” it said.

Though the terror threat perception is high here, India has been rated high in terms of aviation security in the last International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit in 2011. The parameter, Lack of Effective Implementation (LEI) for India stood at 10.75 per cent against global average of 34.01 per cent, the panel was told. The committee took up the issue following the violence in Kozhikode airport in June this year after a CISF personnel was killed following a scuffle between employees. The committee was peeved that the investigations into the incident were not completed even after the lapse of six months.

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