Delhi airport perimeter security to go hi-tech
By Sahil Makkar, IANS
New Delhi : After the latest trespass involving a teenage boy who was found strolling below a parked aircraft, the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here is making its security hi-tech following a series of incidents in recent months set alarm bell ringing.
"We are planning a four-layer perimeter intrusion detection system for the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. This system can very effectively track any kind of intrusion into the airport by giving an alarm," Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) spokesman Arun Arora told IANS.
The disclosure comes in the wake of detection of a teen-aged boy sitting on the valley (wheels) of a parked aircraft Saturday midnight. His trespass into the airport went totally unnoticed.
"The system will have taut wires, buried cables, closed circuit television cameras and radars. It would be functional in any kind of weather," Arora said.
Companies of international stature have been invited to participate in a tender and the security mechanism would be made functional before the completion of the new terminal at the airport by 2010, Arora added.
He, however, refused to elaborate on the proposed security system.
DIAL, a joint consortium of the GMR Group, the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Frankfurt Airport and Malaysian Airport, is modernizing the airport and developing a new terminal T3 at an estimated cost of Rs.300 billion (approx $7.6 billion).
The new terminal is coming up on an area of over 2,000 acres.
There have been three incidents of trespass in the past two months, in which unauthorized people were found moving on the runway.
In the latest incident, a boy, stated to be mentally unfit, scaled the fence walls surrounding the airport Saturday night from the Dwarka side and reached the main runway. He then hid inside the valley of a SpiceJet aircraft's wheels for hours before a technical crew of the airlines spotted him.
The boy, who lives in the nearby Palam Village, told officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), a paramilitary force responsible for maintaining security at the airport, that a friend of his had suggested to him that he should go abroad - probably as a stowaway - to make money.
After the incident, the security vigil was stepped up along the 150-metre unsupervised stretch of the wall, where security gizmos were being installed, a senior CISF official said.
The official blamed poor lighting arrangements at the spot for the security lapse.
The trespass came as an embarrassment to the security agencies, especially since the airport is regularly used by VIPs.
While measures are planned to curb trespass and intrusion, airports across the country largely remain under the constant threat of aircraft hijack and the security agencies do not have any mechanism to frisk people thoroughly.
"Present doorframe metal detectors (DFMD) in India are not designed to scan shoes and people can easily walk through them concealing a piece of metal in their shoes," said V. Purushotham Rao, managing director of VIPRA TechnolEdge Pvt. Ltd that launched Mag Shoe, a hi-tech scanner, in India.
Mag Shoe provides an option to the security agencies to screen people up to their ankles. It also shows in which part of the shoe a metal strip is hidden.
"Despite the best metal detectors, terrorists in the past had managed to sneak in to the flights with knives hidden in their shoes. This finally resulted in the 9/11 tragedy in the US. Most countries in Europe have installed Mag Shoe, but airports across the country are yet to consider it," Rao added.
DIAL officials said they were considering to purchase this advanced scanner.