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CISF guards its airport turf.

THE Central Industrial Security Force ( CISF) responsible for securing airports across the country has written to the ministry of home affairs ( MHA) that there is no need to change the existing system and hand over airport security to a special force.

The force has communicated to the ministry the apprehension and problems that might come up in handing over the security to another force when the CISF has become fully equipped to handle all aspects of airport security.

The ministry of civil aviation has proposed that a special aviation force be set up to guard airports. The proposal was made on the basis of recommendations made by the International Civil Aviation Organisation ( ICAO), the nodal global body that sets standards for airports.

It has been proposed that the CISF be replaced in a phased manner at major airports. But the force is apprehensive of the move. CISF officials say the present system is functioning well. The CISF has been guarding airports since 1999 with a special DG rank officer only looking after airport security.

Airport security has become the force's most important function other than guarding industrial installations. " Different roles have made the CISF a diversified force with immense experience in securing vital installations and airports are certainly one of them. At this point where it appears that the CISF can be the specialised force for aviation security, giving the responsibility to a new agency will be a backward step," a senior CISF official said.

Sources say while the plan for a specialised force is being worked out, the only option will be to recruit people on deputation from existing central forces. " Recruitment can be an issue initially. The apprehensions raised by the CISF are being examined. A final decision will only be taken after looking into all aspects," a home ministry official said.

Currently, the CISF guards 59 airports out of 92 in the country.

CISF officials say all requirements certified by the Bureau of Civil Aviation and Security ( BCAS) are met by the force.

" There are special training programmes for airport security because it is a specialised job," a CISF official said.

Nearly 23,000 CISF personnel are deployed for airport security. " Since the CISF is an established central force, its strength can be increased depending on the need. But for a new force getting 25,000- plus personnel is impossible," a CISF official said.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Nov 5, 2012
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