CISF asks for more manpower to guard Delhi airport

March 7th, 2008 - 7:51 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has asked the government for more manpower and resources to guard Delhi’s sensitive Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport and to facilitate smoother passenger movement there. “The civil aviation industry has registered a growth of over 40 percent in the past few years, but there is no rise in the number of personnel guarding the airport,” said Director General of CISF R.K. Das.

“Since the Delhi airport is expanding to cater to more passengers in the near future, there is a dire need of more personnel and the government is aware of the situation. We have asked for an increase in strength,” Das told IANS on the sidelines of the force’s annual media conference.

The manpower shortage has put an extra strain on the force, the director general said adding that the staff were working over time to meet the requirement.

“We have not made any compromise with the security requirements,” Das said.

Over 12,000 CISF personnel provide security to over 54 domestic and international airports across the country.

Of these, nearly 2,300 CISF personnel are posted at the IGI Airport’s both domestic and international sections, which handle 20.4 million passengers annually. And the number is expected to rise to 37 million by 2010 and 100 million by 2030.

CISF officials admitted that shortage of staff at the IGI Airport had led to the recent chaos at the security counters, resulting in many people missing their flights.

And with the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which is developing a new terminal and modernizing the existing infrastructure, announcing that more security channels would be opened for frisking and baggage screening, the CISF is set to take up the matter more seriously with the home ministry.

Das acknowledged that instances were on the rise of CISF personnel misbehaving with passengers at Delhi airport and at metro stations, used by over 600,000 commuters every day.

“There have been occasional complaints of misbehaviour with passengers. Such incidents take place due to language barriers. Our security staff use their regional languages most of the times, without knowing that some words mean different (things) in other languages,” Das said.

“Language barrier gives rise to (such) situations and these at times have resulted in arguments and fights. But now we have prepared and given a list of words to be used and not to be used with the public,” he added.

Asked about the recent security lapse at Delhi airport when a teenaged boy scaled the periphery wall of the airport and hid behind a plane’s wheel, Das said the force was investigating the matter.

“We are not justifying the lapse, but it happened due to poor lighting arrangements and ongoing construction work. In the recent past, number of slum areas and residential colonies have mushroomed near the airports and it is the responsibility of local authorities to keep a check on them,” the CISF chief said.

Meanwhile, another CISF official told IANS that the number of personnel required for the Delhi Metro, which covers over 65 km of tarcks, was inadequate.

“Delhi Metro has always been a soft terrorist target and soon its network will be spread to neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The number of security officials is already inadequate at the present. The number must be increased,” the official said, declining to be named.

At present nearly 1,633 CISF officials are deployed for the security of the metro.

The CISF was formed in 1969 with about 3,000 personnel to primarily provide security to India’s state-run industrial units.

The force has moved to other fields like securing airports, government buildings, nuclear stations, oilrigs, museums, monuments, and VIP security and disaster management.

Its 105,000 personnel provide security cover to 269 government establishments, including 54 domestic and international airports, and fire protection to 77 undertakings.

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