For the first time in two decades, the Union government has allowed Indian airports to deploy private security personnel.
Security at the country’s airports has been handled by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
Now, according to a report, airports, including those in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad have appointed private security personnel to handle non-core jobs such as passenger queue management, baggage control following a recent mandate from the ministry of civil aviation.
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Five non-core security functions have been identified and these have to be manned by the private security agencies, said the recent instructions issued to airports by regulatory authority, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). Core security functions such as anti-hijack measures, airport perimeter protection will continue to be handled by the CISF, a Times of India report said.
The BCAS lays down standards and measures with respect to security of civil flights at international and domestic airports in India.
Recently, on security at airports, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said there are three levels of security, including CISF at 65 airports. One of the reforms is permitting private security at airports, which is “almost 700 people and we would enable that to grow in the days to come”, he had said.
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The five non-core job functions for private security personnel include segregating passengers at airport gates, queue management at boarding counters, baggage control, cargo area and security of visitors’ gallery. The decision came after an elaborate survey found the need to bolster the security manpower requirement at airports, the report added citing sources.
A Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) spokesperson was quoted as saying: “The current deployment of private security agencies covers non-core areas of security and the individuals so deployed continue to be under the command and control of the CISF. The airport operator does not exercise any control over them. CISF is also responsible for the training of the private security involved in non-core security tasks and ensures that their training is at par with that imparted to CISF. They have been deployed post an elaborate pre-deployment and on-the-job training period.”
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A spokesperson for the Delhi airport told the newspaper that a private security agency has been hired to undertake the identified five non-core security functions.
Around 1,900 private agency guards will take over non-core security roles at over 50 airports in the country. The CISF has removed over 1,100 personnel from airports. Around 3,000 CISF posts at airports have been abolished following this exercise. At present, CISF has around 29,000 personnel deployed at 65 airports, a Business Standard report said.