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Eight field officers to secure 97 airports,govt to revamp BCAS

The country’s aviation regulator,which deals with potential hijacking of an aircraft,threat by an intruder,and other security issues

Written by VijaitaSingh | New Delhi |
October 3, 2012 1:08:11 am

The country’s aviation regulator,which deals with potential hijacking of an aircraft,threat by an intruder,and other security issues,has only eight field officers to check the security apparatus at 97 airports across India. After glaring shortcomings were pointed out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation during their safety audit conducted last year,the Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to revamp the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

Currently being run with a strength of 126 officials,the restructured BCAS aims to recruit 2,120 personnel. It wants to have its own team present at all functional airports,thereby giving them an edge to manage the security on their own. These officers will be called Civil Aviation Security Liaison Officers.

“During their audit the ICAO made an observation that the aviation security regulator was massively short on manpower and their job was primarily reduced to issuing entry passes. The lack of infrastructure and absence of adequate personnel was affecting the performance of the regulator,” said a senior official.

Jolted by the audit,the BCAS redrafted their personnel strength and sent a proposal to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for sanction of more posts and to set up two training academies.

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“We already have a training academy where annually 25,00-30,000 people associated with the aviation industry undergo the course. All persons employed at the airport — security officials,cargo officials,ground handling agents,cabin crew — undergo the training methodology prescribed by us. The sole training institute we have is having a drain on our resources; two more institutes will come up for the purpose and one of them will be located in southern part of the country,” said another official.

After going through the proposal,the ministry will forward it to the Finance Ministry,which after studying it will sanction the money.

“Our aim is to open an office at every functional airport in the country. The promotion opportunities and other modalities will be finalised once the Finance Ministry clears the project,” said the official. The workforce will be a mix of direct recruits and those on deputation.

The BCAS had come under criticism from various quarters after it became “top heavy” with no workforce to check the security scenario at airports. BCAS has its offices at New Delhi,Mumbai,Kolkata,Chennai,Amritsar,Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.

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