Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is learnt to have asked officials to explore the possibility of taking over the management of the security set-up at all the airports across the country. The decision may lead to a confrontation with the Civil Aviation Ministry, presently under the charge of a minister belonging to NDA ally -— the Telugu Desam Party. Though the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) deployed at all major airports, is under the control of the MHA, the security mandate and other procedures are regulated by Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) under the Civil Aviation Ministry.
An official said there were multiple agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau (IB), immigration officials, security officials and others, working at the airport and they were all bound by regulations passed by the BCAS.
Once the ministry takes the final decision, it will consult Civil Aviation Minister P Gajapathi Raju. “The minister has only asked us to explore the possibility of the Home Ministry entirely taking over the security paraphernalia to avoid any duplication of authority. It is still at a very nascent stage,” a senior ministry official said.
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Two years ago, the then civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had moved a proposal to create an exclusive Aviation Security Force (ASF) thereby weeding out the CISF from airports in a phased manner. The move came after a panel of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommended legislative changes and formation of a new ASF under the control of BCAS. The panel also said all the officials of the CISF, presently on airport duty, should be retained on deputation for three years and in the meantime new recruitments should be made. The MHA had strongly opposed the move.
“What may go in favour of the MHA is that even the IB reports to it. This system has worked quite well both at the central and local level due to close coordination between CISF, IB and state intelligence. If the entire security set-up is monitored by one ministry it will be better when it comes to coordination and implementation,” the official said.