City cops may provide security at Juhu airport

Initial plan to rope in CISF personnel fails as accommodation for their kin poses a problem

After plans to have Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) manning the Juhu airport fell through, Mumbai police is likely to chip in. Issues over who will foot the bill for CISF personnel's accommodation resulted in the plan being dropped.

Last week, officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation met senior officials of Mumbai police to discuss the matter. City police officials also surveyed the airport, one of the oldest and busiest aerodromes in India, last Wednesday to assess the security requirements for the 385-acre premises.

"The initial discussions with the Mumbai Police have been positive. We haven't finalised anything yet, but this may work out. We will get at least 35 personnel to man the airport from the Mumbai Police," an official at the Juhu airport said.

At present, the airport, which is managed by the Airports Authority of India, is manned by 27 personnel from the Maharashtra Home Guard.

M Yadagiri, director of Juhu airport, confirmed the development.

Madhukar Pandey, Additional Commissioner of Police heading the protection and security department, said, "At the end of the day, the responsibility rests on the local police. If the plan of getting CISF is not working out, we are there and the Mumbai Police are capable of securing the airport. The operational and logistical details will be worked out."

Initially, the Ministry of Home Affairs had sanctioned 174 CISF personnel for the airport. The CISF, which provides security to 59 airports across India, was to take charge in March this year. However, the arrangement did not work out as the Juhu airport could not provide for accommodation for the families of 92 CISF personnel.

"We had made accommodation available for bachelors as well as women personnel. We were able to provide office space and catering facilities. But to find accommodation for 92 families in a city like Mumbai was proving to be very costly," the official said, adding that they had looked for suitable accommodation till as far as Thane. Securing the services of the CISF would meant expenditures in excess of the airport's revenue, the official added.

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