With security fees amounting to about Rs 737 crore pending, the CISF might soon "look into" the accounts of the Delhi airport operator, DIAL, to find out why the dues were not paid to it, a top official said today.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is the government-mandated paramilitary force that guards 59 civil airports in the country and charges a security fee in lieu of protecting these sensitive facilities against terror and sabotage threats.
A top official of the force today said over Rs 750 crore security fee dues were pending with various airport operators, of which an amount of about Rs 737 crore was pending with DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) that operated the Indira Gandhi International airport in the national capital.
"We have also suggested that we would like to sort of look into their (DIAL's) accounts and find out exactly how much is earned through PSF (passenger security fee) vis-a-vis the deployment charges they are bound to pay (to the CISF). That is a work in progress," CISF Additional Director General (airport sector) M A Ganapathy told reporters on the eve of the force's 49th raising day.
The ADG said the suggestion to look into the records of DIAL and resolve the long-pending issue had come from the ministry of civil aviation.
He added that the force could only "persuade vigorously" for realising the dues with the two ministries, the civil aviation ministry and the home ministry, to whom it reported.
"We can only take it (the pending dues issue) up since we do not have any coercive power to ensure that the payment is made. We can only take up the matter through the ministries," Ganapathy said.
The PSF is levied on travellers using the IGI airport and the fund collected this way is used to pay the CISF for its security duties.
The ADG added that the CISF now only carried out a visual profiling and regular checks of differently-abled air travellers, as compared to the earlier practice of asking them to remove their prosthetics and get up from their wheelchairs for screening.
Only in a select case, the CISF personnel might go for further checks and screening of differently-abled passengers through an explosive detector, he said.
Talking about the manpower issues of the force at the airports, he said a strength augmentation proposal was pending before the home ministry.
"There is a shortage of manpower at the IGI and other airports. Once we get it (the desired manpower), we will be able to do our job even better.
"Right now, yes, it (the schedule of the personnel) is tight, the shifts have to be extended and it is not an ideal situation. But despite that, we are managing it very well," the officer said.
Asked about further easing and slashing the security clearance time for travellers, Ganapathy said the civil aviation ministry was working on a "digi yatra" project, with the help of biometric identity like Aadhaar, to reduce the time taken by a passenger to travel from the departure gate of the airport to the aircraft.
He said the CISF had done away with the hand-baggage tags for passengers at 37 airports and added that by the year-end, more airports would be brought under this new security regime.
The ADG also said a trial for body scanners had been conducted in the past and added that the CISF would want to have them in place for a better screening of passengers and threats.
"It (body scanners) is not fool proof, but the results are encouraging. It is a work in progress," he said.
Asked about the recent reports of power banks posing a security threat at the airports, Ganapathy said the problem was with the "locally-made" mobile power banks that appeared as an improvised explosive device (IED) at the time of the X-ray screening.
"They will continue to be checked," he said.
The ADG said the CISF was also working on a new plan to "right-size" its manpower with the integration of gadgets and with an aim to reduce the security deployment costs.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)