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CISF to Take over Security of Leh Airport This Week

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

A contingent of about 100 CISF personnel will provide round-the-clock, armed security at the strategically important airport, located at 3,256 metres above sea level, they said.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: August 2, 2020, 8:49 PM IST
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The CISF is scheduled to take over on August 4 the security of the Leh airport, the country's highest-altitude commercial aerodrome in the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh, officials said.

A contingent of about 100 CISF personnel will provide round-the-clock, armed security at the strategically important airport, located at 3,256 metres above sea level, they said.

The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), will be the 64th civil airport to be brought under the cover of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). It is guarded by the local police at present. Ladakh became a UT on October 31 last year after the central government revoked the special status given to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into UTs.

The CISF, the 1.62 lakh personnel strong paramilitary designated as the national civil aviation security force, will take over the Leh airport security after a formal induction ceremony scheduled for August 4, officials said. CISF Director General (DG) Rajesh Ranjan and senior officials of the AAI and Ladakh UT will be present during the event, they said.

The force has a special aviation security group (ASG) to provide counter-terror cover to the airports and it has taken over such passenger facilities at Srinagar and Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) in February and March respectively. Air India, Vistara, GoAir and SpiceJet operate commercial passenger flights between Leh and Delhi.

A new passenger terminal at the airport is being built at a cost of Rs 480 crore and is expected to be completed by September next year. Handover of the three strategically important and sensitive airports of Srinagar, Jammu and Leh to the CISF was expedited after Jammu and Kashmir Police officer Davinder Singh was arrested from Srinagar in January while he was allegedly ferrying three Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists to Chandigarh.

The CISF contingent at the Leh airport will provide 24×7 armed cover to the facility and will check passengers while approaching the facility, at the termial gates followed by comprehensive checks and body frisking ahead of boarding a flight. The troops will be armed with assault rifles like the AK series and the INSAS, and will man the airport perimeter from watch towers erected at vantage positions.

The Union government has said that CISF will be the only civil airports guarding force and all such facilities in the country will be gradually brought under its command to bolster aviation security and tighten anti-terror and anti-hijack protocols.

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