The carpet’s gone, but there’s a new problem at Delhi’s Terminal 3. Without the much-maligned padding that got hate reviews for its design, the floor is proving too slippery for the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) staff. So, a special committee is now in place to replace the shoes of about 4,000 personnel.
The decision to change the footwear for the paramilitary staff came after a few mock chases during security drills proved too tricky. They found that without the carpet, chasing suspects was too challenging and many were falling. “The carpet has been removed from parts of T3 and during drills we found that the existing shoes are too heavy and do not have a good grip for the floor. With the carpet, we never realized the issue but now that the issue has been raised, the committee will finalise the design for new shoes,” said a CISF officer posted at the airport.
According to another CISF officer the force has different types of shoes which are used in combat roles, for parades, and a separate type for training. For airports, the specification for shoes was not separate, and the force is now trying to experiment with that. DIAL, in August 2018, said that the process of removing the carpet would start in late October and be completed in a phased manner by the end of the year.
“Apart from being slippery, another issue with the existing shoe is that it is too heavy and, in a phased manner, we will replace it across the country, starting with Delhi airport. We have received models from four to five companies, and will take a call soon,” said a third CISF officer. Several complaints have previously been directed at the carpet, this person added. Passengers have complained about the slow movement of luggage trolleys on it; security officials have complained about difficulties in walking the dog squad; and many have objected to its appearance. “The shoes given in forces are heavy and are usually purchased in bulk. Since security should be of utmost importance, the shoe for such a role should be light and firm on the floor and also it should not pose any challenge in running. At places like airports, shoes should be of specialised specification considering all possible emergency situations,” said LN Rao, a security specialist, who retired as Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) from Delhi Police.