Concerned over the alarming rise in gold smuggling through Indian airports, especially those in southern parts of the country, the Central Industrial Security Force will soon lay out an operational plan to rein in the trend.
“Tackling gold transport through the sky-route has now become one of our key priorities. The airports in Kerala are at the centre of these smuggling networks and the CISF has got a more direct role to play in breaking this,” said O.P. Singh, the Additional Director General of CISF Airport sector.
At present, the force coordinates with other enforcement agencies, including the Customs and Revenue Intelligence, to counter the menace. “Considering the high sensitive nature of airports, we are working on an enhanced surveillance and prompt interception mechanism, which will be implemented in all the 59 airports with us,” the official said.
Since the model code of conduct for Parliament elections kicked in, the CISF has seized about 347 kg of gold smuggled through various airports. “During the period, we have been also able to confiscate cash worth Rs. 2.5 crore, which is quite a good beginning,” he said.
Mr. Singh, who on Wednesday visited the airport here and inspected its security cover, said a fresh batch of 100 CCTV cameras would be installed in addition to the existing 260 cameras at the airport here. “The additional cameras are being installed to ensure that no areas, including the outer periphery of this airport, are left out of surveillance,” he said.
Further, a perimeter intrusion detection system, which now awaits a nod from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, is expected to be operational in six months.
The officer also hinted at allocation of additional CISF personnel for the airport. “Taking into account the enormous increase in flight operation over the past few years and the airport expansion, we have proposed a rise in CISF personnel for CIAL, which is now pending with the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security,” he said.
The sanctioned strength of CISF for the airport here is 494 but only 420 are on duty currently. The new proposal seeks to sanction an additional group of 400 officials, which is likely to get the nod soon.