An additional 1,400 CISF personnel have been sanctioned to secure the expanding terminal areas of the Delhi airport and also to meet the challenge of its growing passenger traffic, officials said on Thursday.
This was conveyed at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla along with the representatives of the civil aviation ministry, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Bureau of Immigration among others.
The meeting was called to review measures taken to ease the recent congestion reported at large airports, particularly in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
It was informed during the meeting that an additional force of 1,400 Central Industrial Security Force personnel would soon be deployed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport where expansion is going on at three terminals -- 1, 2 and 3 -- apart from its cargo hold area.
The terminal 1 renovation and expansion was scheduled to be completed by December next year or January 2024 but the government wants it be expedited and finished by November 2023, the start of the holiday season.
More CISF personnel will be required to secure the expanding areas of the IGI and hence the new manpower sanction, they said.
The enhanced manpower, over and above the existing strength of about 5,000 personnel, has been recently approved after a four-month long joint survey undertaken by security agencies. The proposal was finally moved by the BCAS and approved by the civil aviation ministry.
The joint review had estimated creation of about 2,400 posts for the CISF to meet the upcoming needs at the IGI but the manpower was finally rationalised at 1,400 personnel apart from filling up the existing vacancies in the sanctioned 5,000 personnel strength, sources said.
The IGI will have a total strength of about 6,500 men and women personnel after the induction of the fresh manpower, they said.
The new CISF strength will not only be used to render the core duty of the force -- of providing an anti-terrorist and anti-hijack cover at the hypersensitive facility -- but also to meet the challenge of the ever-growing passenger footfall, both for domestic and international travel, sources said.
Bhalla had also convened the meeting to discuss with stakeholders continuous complaints from passengers about the rush at the entry gates, luggage drop and security check areas.
The meeting discussed the issue of crowding and how to fix the problems faced by passengers, an official said.
The paramilitary force, which is guarding 66 airports throughout the country at present, had deployed about 100 personnel on Wednesday at the Delhi and Mumbai airports to ease the latest cycle of congestion and to meet the due to the upcoming holiday season.
Officials said during the visit of Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia to the IGI recently, a total of 16 entry gates were operational which has been increased to 18 and will be further brought up to 20 gates.
Similarly, the number of immigration counters and security check lines are also being increased, they said.
The BCAS has also asked the airlines and the airport operators to put up posters and send awareness messages to passengers for carrying one cabin baggage and undergoing web check-in before reaching the airport.
It has also asked the airport operator DIAL (for IGI), apart from other large airports, to look at the possibility of bringing in advanced 3D baggage scanners and more automatic tray retrieval systems (ATRS).
Over the last two weeks, passengers have been posting pictures and videos of long queues and crowding at the IGI in Delhi and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, prompting authorities to take note and tell airlines and airport operators to ease the congestion.
The civil aviation ministry had also asked airlines to deploy adequate manpower at all check-in and baggage drop counters, besides requesting the scheduled airlines to update their social media feed with real-time numbers on the waiting time at airports' entry gates.