The new terminal at the Mumbai International Airport where security checkpoints precede immigration counters, has run afoul of the Union Home Ministry and might upset plans for inauguration. The ministry has opposed the “rather peculiar arrangement” at T2 because the security rulebook at all airports in India has been designed for a system where passengers pass through immigration counters first before proceeding for security check. The reversal of the standard setup could lead to “utter chaos” if passengers are turned back from the immigration counter, according to a senior government official. “CISF personnel will have to cancel the security clearance of such passengers. But there is simply no standard operating procedure for such an eventuality,” said the official.
Mumbai International Airport is a joint venture between a consortium led by GVK that owns 74% stake and government-run (26%). To address the ministry’s concern, GVK might have to uproot the 60 immigration counters and 104 security check posts at the terminal. Besides the huge cost that would be incurred, this may also delay start of operations, a home ministry official said.
GVK’s predicament has caught the attention of who has asked officials to a solution so that the showpiece project in his home state is not delayed. “We do not want to affect the investment made by GVK. We may propose creating a dedicated corridor for passengers turned back from immigration to exit the airport or return to the check-in area,” the official said.