Maximum alert at Delhi airport but doubts over security persist

Parul Sharma

NEW DELHI: Following the midnight scare caused by loud reports similar to gunshots heard outside the departure lounge of the international terminal on Friday, the Indira Gandhi International Airport here has been put on the highest possible alert.

Though security has been strengthened with the Central Industrial Security Force deploying additional manpower and the National Security Guard commandos being put on stand-by, some officials at the airport feel the parts of the airport that are now under construction pose a major security risk. With labourers having access to some areas of the building, officials see it as a potential threat.

In particular, the Arrivals section of the domestic terminal of the airport as construction is being done in an operational building.

However, Delhi International Airport Limited – the operator of the IGI Airport – brushes this concern aside, claiming that all possible measures are being undertaken to fully secure the airport.

“The identity cards of construction labourers working at construction sites are issued by our respective contractors. With these passes, they cannot enter the airport areas but only the sites on the city side. For access to the areas inside the airport, including the terminal buildings and airside, the passes are issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security,” said DIAL spokesperson Arun Arora on Saturday, adding that the CISF guards check the passes before letting anyone enter the airport building.

On the alleged “vulnerability” of the Arrivals building, he maintained that even though some construction work was going on at the terminal, the construction areas and the operational areas are “fully segregated and there is no scope of any mix-up”.

“All the access points into the operational areas are guarded by the CISF,” he asserted.

When pointed out that the workers have easy access to the roof of the old portion of the Arrivals building from where they carry out the construction for the new side, the DIAL official said: “From the rooftops, no workers have any access to the operational areas. CISF personnel are also deployed on the rooftop of the buildings.”

DIAL also claims that all the areas of the terminal building are covered by closed-circuit television cameras.