Parliamentary panel flags security gaps in airports

A Parliamentary committee has raised an alarm about the airport security scenario in the country, and highlighted glaring gaps in the security of the two busiest airports, Delhi and Mumbai. The two airports, operated by private players, account for around 40 per cent of overall air traffic in the country. The panel said it was “appalled” to observe a lack of coordination between the Delhi Police and the airport operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) to ensure security at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here. The issue of encroachment by slum dwellers was seen as a potential security threat at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Both Delhi and Mumbai airports are one of the few in the country which are operated by private players. The committee lauded the security arrangements at the Cochin International Airport.

The observations came to light after the committee took up the issues related to airport security in India after a violent scuffle took place between Central Industrial Security Force officials and Airports Authority of India officials at the Kozhikode airport earlier this year, killing one CISF jawan.

As regards other airports, the committee found it “quite scary” to observe that eight ‘hyper-sensitive’ airports and 19 ‘sensitive airports’ had no security personnel deployed by the CISF, which handles security at 59 airports across the country.

During the committee’s visit to the Delhi airport, the Delhi police flagged 12 areas of gaps to the committee including inadequate CCTV coverage, lack of space for Aerocity police post, insufficient fencing around Terminal 3 of the airport and the risk posed by three adjoining villages. On Mumbai’s Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport, the committee observed that the 35 pockets of slums near the airport were a potential threat to aircraft.