Shirdi Air­port to get CISF se­cu­rity cover

The Hitavada - - NATION -

THE re­cently in­au­gu­rated Shirdi Air­port may soon get an armed se­cu­rity cover of the CISF to thwart pos­si­ble ter­ror and sab­o­tage threats to the fa­cil­ity, which is lo­cated in the fa­mous tem­ple town of Ma­ha­rash­tra.

The se­cu­rity force, along with the Bu­reau of Civil Avi­a­tion Se­cu­rity (BCAS) and the air­port op­er­a­tor, will soon con­duct a sur­vey of the fa­cil­ity.

CISF Di­rec­tor Gen­eral (DG) O P Singh told PTI that they have re­ceived a re­quest in this con­text and the force is work­ing on modal­i­ties to de­ploy a con­tin­gent at the air­port.

The Cen­tral In­dus­trial Se­cu­rity Force, at present, guards 59 civil air­ports of the coun­try.

Pres­i­dent Ram Nath Kovind had in­au­gu­rated the in­ter­na­tional air­port, in Ma­ha­rash­tra’s Ahmed­na­gar district, on Oc­to­ber 1. Lo­cated at a dis­tance of 238km from State cap­i­tal Mum­bai, Shirdi is home to the fa­mous shrine of ‘Sai Baba’ and is one of the prom­i­nent pil­grim­age cen­tres in the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to an es­ti­mate, about 60,000 pil­grims visit Shirdi ev­ery­day, out of which the air­port au­thor­i­ties plan to tap at least 1012 per cent.

The aero­drome is owned and de­vel­oped by Ma­ha­rash­tra Air­port De­vel­op­ment Com­pany (MADC), a spe­cial pur­pose ve­hi­cle (SPV) to de­velop air­ports in the State.

Con­structed at an in­vest­ment of around Rs 350 crore, the air­port, with a 2,500 m-long run­way, is ca­pa­ble of han­dling sin­gle nar­row-body air­craft, such as Air­bus A320 and Boe­ing 737s.

The 2,750 sqm ter­mi­nal build­ing has been de­signed to han­dle a to­tal of 300 pas­sen­gers, in­clud­ing the ar­riv­ing ones.

The near­est air­port from here is at Au­rangabad, about 125-kms away.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the CISF took over the se­cu­rity of the ISRO Teleme­try Track­ing and Com­mand Net­work (ISTRAC) at Port Blair on Wed­nes­day.

A con­tin­gent of about 60 armed com­man­dos of the para­mil­i­tary have been de­ployed round-the­clock to guard the sprawl­ing com­plex against all kinds of threat.

The fa­cil­ity func­tions un­der the com­mand of the Depart­ment of Space (DoS). The cen­tre is tasked to pro­vide track­ing sup­port for all the satel­lite and launch ve­hi­cle mis­sions of the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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