With the Model Code of Conduct in place for the general elections, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security issued instructions Friday to strengthen security measures at airports to curb the movement of unauthorized arms, contraband goods, cash or bullion.
The BCAS circular asks the Air Traffic Control ro share records of commercial flights and private aircraft or helicopters with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state and the District Electoral Officer of the district in which the airport is located.
It says the travel plan of chartered aircraft or helicopters should be shared as early as possible, preferably half an hour in advance.
Voting in the Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and continue for over a month till May 19 across seven phases, followed by counting of votes on May 23, the Election Commission announced on March 10.
The Model Code of Conduct came in to effect with the announcement of poll dates.
The BCAS circular says that apart from measures to strengthen the security at regular commercial airports, special measures have been introduced to check flights from "uncontrolled or remote or unserved" airstrips, aerodromes helipads, private airstrips and waterdromes.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Airports Authority of India and the ATC will inform state police, the BCAS and the Income Tax Department about these flights from remote airstrips in advance, the circular says.
"DGPs (Director Generals of Police) of states shall deploy police units to check these flights during Code of Conduct as per direction of Election Commission and extant rules and regulations of BCAS in this regards," the circular states.
It also says that the operators of all private aircraft and helicopters must declare the contents of the baggage, suitcases, etc, carried on these flights to the CEO of the states, DEOs of the districts, the state police and the Income Tax department.
With an aim to keep strict vigil over movement of cash through all airports, the Income Tax Department and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) must be extended "all requisite cooperation" for checking and surveillance activities, according to the circular.
"This will be over and above what CISF is otherwise doing," the circular adds.
The officers of BCAS will be conducting surprise inspections of these airports to check the compliance of these instructions, it says.
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