Saturday, October 21, 2017

Airport security ache

New Delhi: The Central Industrial Security Force, which provides security at 59 airports, has written to the home ministry complaining about the Airport Authority of India's failure to clear its dues of Rs 350 crore.

Sources said the growing arrears had prevented the CISF, which reports to the home ministry, from taking over security at the country's remaining 32 airports.

The sources blamed the situation on a standoff between the finance ministry and the civil aviation ministry, under which the airport authority functions.

While the finance ministry believes the bill should be passed on to the fliers, the civil aviation ministry contends that security is the responsibility of the Centre, which should pay the money from its consolidated fund.
Every air passenger is now charged Rs 130 as security fee but it's not enough to pay for the CISF's annual bill of around Rs 1,300 crore.

"During a meeting last month, the Prime Minister's Office rejected the finance ministry's proposal to charge more from the passengers to foot the bill. Who will pay the dues is still undecided," a CISF official said.

Prodded by a parliamentary committee, the Centre had last year decided that the CISF would protect all the 91 functional airports in the country.

Currently, other central paramilitary forces or the police provide security at 32 airports, including those at Srinagar, Jammu, Cooch Behar, Durgapur, Jamshedpur, Gorakhpur, Mysore, Jabalpur and Ludhiana. Nineteen of these 32 have been classified as "hyper-sensitive".
21/10/17 Imran Ahmed Siddiqui/Telegraph
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