Delhi airport wants to increase passenger security fee to clear CISF dues

If Delhi airport has its way, outgoing passengers will have to pay more for security at the capital’s airport. The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which operates the capital’s airport, has said that there is a need to increase the passenger security fee (PSF) as they are unable to carry on day to day security related operations such as replacement or repair of security equipment.

“There is severe shortage of funds and if the deficit continues to build up like this, we will not be able to meet even the mandatory expenditure to maintain security at the airport,” DIAL said in a letter to the ministry of civil aviation. Currently, every departing passenger pays Rs 200 as security fee which DIAL wants to increase. As per rough estimates, PSF needs to be increased to Rs 300 to prevent further piling up of dues and to Rs 350 if past dues have to be cleared. The fee should also be increased by Rs 20 every year.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which provides security at the airport, recently wrote to the civil aviation ministry seeking its intervention in release of mounting dues from DIAL. The Delhi airport owes CISF Rs 655.40 crore for the services of the security force. In response to CISF’s plea, DIAL blamed low security fee and lack of fee revision. “DIAL is working in fiduciary capacity on behalf of government and utilising the funds as per the directions given by government authorities from time to time. It is unfair that DIAL is being projected as responsible for non-payment or delayed payment. The fact of the matter is that airport security is a sovereign function reserved for Government of India, hence it is the primary responsibility of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure payment of dues to CISF,” DIAL said.

With DIAL unwilling to take responsibility, CISF has nowhere to go. Although, the salary of CISF staff is not affected by this, it causes loss to the government. The cost of deployment of CISF personnel is borne by the respective installation and is paid to a consolidated fund of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under which the CISF functions.

“The escalating outstanding dues are a matter of grave concern. It also attracts adverse comments from statutory bodies including CAG, Parliamentary Standing Committee relating to Home Affairs etc,” said CISF DG, OP Singh, in a letter to the ministry. Meanwhile, DIAL’s deficits seem to be mounting over the years. DIAL has projected its income to be Rs 363.65 crore in 2017-18, Rs 392.40 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 421.94 crore in 2019-20 and the expenditure during the corresponding period is expected be Rs 424.55 crore, Rs 460.76 crore and Rs 495.72 crore. An additional Rs 150 crore is also required every year for service tax and loan interest

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