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Airport security: Indian govt. issues instructions to states


New Delhi : With heightened terror threat to the aviation sector, a series of instructions has been issued to all state governments, airports and agencies concerned across the country by the Civil Aviation Ministry, which has asked for their strict compliance.

“The Civil Aviation Ministry has circulated some instructions to all the airports,” Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters on Friday, but did not elaborate.

All airports across the country have been on a state of high alert since the Mumbai terror attacks, with Civil Aviation Secretary M Madhavan Nambiar writing to state governments and union territory administrations to secure all airports and airstrips under their jurisdiction.

There are about 340 airports and airstrips in the country, with many of them non-functional. A large number of these airstrips are of the Second World War vintage.

Besides securing the airports, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) have also issued instructions for additional layers of personal and hand-baggage checking before a passenger boards an aircraft.

They have also directed that the strength of sky marshals be increased and they should be put on more flights, rather than on the already identified sectors like those in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

With elections nearing and the use of helicopters increasing, the DGCA will soon issue a new set of security guidelines for helicopter operators to report mandatorily to the local police before making landings at any unscheduled place.