Aviation ministry bats for own security force
Mihir Mishra Posted online: Thu Oct 31 2013, 01:21 hrs
New Delhi : The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the country’s civil aviation security regulator, needs to have six times more personnel than what it currently deploys across all airports in India. The civil aviation ministry has made a representation to the government seeking an augmentation of BCAS personnel deployed at airports from the current strength of 200 to around 1,200 people.
“We have sent a representation to the government on two counts. One was on the formation of a civil aviation force and the other was on strengthening the BCAS by around 1,200 people. The strengthening of BCAS is also required simultaneously, as the proposed force will report to them,” a senior official said. The projections on shortfall in BCAS had been made by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
“They (ICAO) have said that BCAS should have a representatives placed at every operational airport in the country and regional offices in all 20 regions of the country,” said the official. He added that the international organisation had mandated that the civil aviation security wing should also have technical team, which does not exist now. Currently, BCAS has only eight regional offices and representatives deputed only at key airports in the country.
BCAS was set up as a cell in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in 1978 after the hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight in September, 1976. The security wing was then reorganised into an independent department in 1987 under the civil aviation ministry after the Kanishka tragedy in June 1985. BCAS is responsible for laying down standards and measures in respect of security of all commercial flights at all airports in the country.
Meanwhile, the civil aviation ministry has initiated the process of formulating a legislation for the proposed civil aviation security force. The law will be on the lines of the Railway Protection Force Act and will require a nod for Parliament.
“The law ministry has asked us to prepare an act for the proposed civil aviation force. We have asked KN Chaturvedi, former secretary in the legislative department, to guide us on the same,” said a civil aviation ministry official.
The proposed civil aviation force will replace the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at all the airports in the country. Unlike the CISF that reports to the home ministry, the proposed force will report to BCAS.
The CISF was chosen for managing airport security after an Indian Airlines flight, IC-814, was hijacked in 1999. The CISF manages security at 59 airports across the country, deploying its nearly 21,000 personnel.
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