Relax security norms at airports: J&K

August 09, 2015 02:56 am | Updated March 29, 2016 02:03 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The Jammu and Kashmir government has written to the Home Ministry, seeking relaxation in security norms at the Srinagar and Jammu airports.

The ‘State government said a “security overdrive” at these airports was compromising tourism prospects in the State and hurting it's economy as tourism was the main revenue generator. The State government has said that “gun toting security personnel” at the runway and across the terminal intimidated tourists, particularly foreigners.

Unlike the rest of the country, Srinagar and Jammu airports are the only two manned by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is posted at 59 major airports while smaller airports are manned by the local police.

In Jammu and Srinagar, the airports have a thick security blanket and a passenger has to go through six layers of checks, which include pat down search after entering the airport. At Srinagar airport, passengers are not even allowed to carry handbags, while boarding the aircraft.

“The state government has a point. The security overkill is a dampener for tourism prospects. They want the security provisions to be relaxed, if not withdrawn completely,” said a senior Home Ministry official.

On August 4, a high-level meeting was convened at North Block in Delhi, where the issue was discussed threadbare. Ashok Prasad, Secretary, Internal Security presided over the meeting. The State government officials told Home Ministry that they had conducted a survey, according to which many passengers were irked by too many security checks at the two airports.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the regulatory authority for civil aviation security in the country has also been roped in to look for a “midway.”

The state government is perturbed as the floods last year affected the tourist inflow.

“The heightened threat around Srinagar airport is always a cause of concern. In the current scenario, there can be no reduction of security personnel at the two airports,” said another government official.

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