Airports in the newly created Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will soon have a new armed security cover of the CISF as the Centre has sanctioned about 800 personnel for the three civilian air facilities, official sources said.
The sources in the security establishment told that Jammu airport will be the first to be handed over to the Central Industrial Security Force, as soon as by next month, by the CRPF.
CISF, with about 1.6 lakh personnel, was first tasked with the security of airports in the aftermath of the 1999 hijack of an Indian Airlines aircraft. The federal force now guards 61 of the operational about 100 civil airports across the country.
“A manpower of about 800 CISF personnel has been approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs to guard the civil airports in Jammu, Srinagar and Leh. The airports of Jammu and Srinagar are categorised as hyper-sensitive while that in Leh is sensitive considering its strategic location,” a senior official said.
For the new deployment, an upgraded joint command and control of various security and intelligence agencies will be created at the three locations, he added.
Another official said the airports in Srinagar and Leh will be taken over by CISF after the severe cold ends. Some construction and logistics are to be finalised before the CISF takes charge.
The sources added that barracks, control rooms, watch towers, X-ray scanners, road blocks and barriers are either being constructed afresh or refurbished ahead of the take over.
All the three airports in the UTs, which came into existence on October 31, will have major infrastructure facilities for the CISF. The approvals for deployment have been given to the Aviation Security Group (ASG) of the central force, they said.
The CRPF and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have been protecting these civil air facilities till now.
At the most-sensitive Srinagar airport, the CRPF will now be responsible for securing the outer periphery while the CISF will secure access control to both city and air side (tarmac area).
An assortment of surveillance and security gadgets like CCTVs, observation monitors, hand-held metal detectors, bullet-proof patrol vehicles and bomb detection and disposal equipment are being provided by the airport operator to the CISF by the Airports Authority of India.
The Union government, early last year, had decided that CISF will be the central airport guarding force and all such facilities in the country will be gradually brought under its command to bolster aviation security and tighten anti-terror and anti-hijack protocols.