CISF tightens security at airports after Pak turmoil

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Dec 31 | Updated: Jan 1 2008, 07:05am hrs
The New Year will see enhanced security at major airports, thanks to the turmoil in neighbouring Pakistan following the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), deployed at all the functional airports, has enhanced its vigilance to prevent any untoward events at the airports. X-ray Baggage Inspecting Systems (XBIS) have been recently installed at the metro airports, where, upon screening, 20 images of the scanned object appear on the monitor, giving a comprehensive picture of the baggage.

Said Vertik Singh, deputy commander, CISF, Following the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, there has been a general alert at the airports and we are prepared with our teams to escalate the security measures.

Apart from tightening up the security by CISF, it is the responsibility of the airport authorities to install the upgraded security gadgets at their expense. Most of the airport authorities like MIAL, DIAL and BIAL (Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore International Airports Limited) have the latest gadgets installed, which do not hamper passengers convenience, Singh added.

Meanwhile, a source from Mumbai airport added that at present, there is a threat perception and reactive teams in large numbers are deployed at the metro airports to scan unattended bags, apart from installing security gadgets.

Installing newer gadgets and technology is an ongoing process at the airports. For instance, advanced DMTs (door metal detectors) have been installed recently at the airports, he said.

Though the CISF officials said that altogether there are 1.5 lakh CISF personnel deployed at various airports, at times when there is a threat perception at hyper-sensitive airports like Delhi and Mumbai, more personnel from other airports are sent to such airports for added security.

Said Sanjay Prakash, senior commandant, CISF, (Mumbai), We have deployed specially trained Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) to handle any kind of emergency. Even on routine days, the security is always vigilant but at a time when there is an alert, the security is tightened without causing inconvenience to passengers.

Sudhakara Reddy, president of Air Passengers Association of India (AIPA) added that though the security has been tightened at the airports, the association has not heard of any passengers being inconvenienced.