NEW DELHI: In a bid to facilitate differently-abled passengers at airports and ensure that the security protocols are implemented in a way that preserves their dignity and self-respect, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), in partnership with disability rights groups and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), has embarked on an exercise to make airport experience for the differently-abled hassle-free without compromising on security.
At a conference chaired by CISF DG M A Ganapathy here on Thursday and attended by representatives of over a 150 disability rights NGOs, BCAS and security heads of all the 64 airports guarded by CISF, it was decided that the ‘swarnim sewa’ – a pilot initiative launched by CISF aviation security group at Hyderabad airport, wherein its personnel facilitate specially-abled, senior citizen and expectant mothers right from the airport entrance and through the security check – would be expanded to all the 64 airports guarded by CISF.
A dedicated mobile app and a helpline number would be launched for this.
Also, a committee of all stakeholders would be put in place at all airports to look into issues faced by people with disabilities (PWDs). There will be increased focus on training and sensitisation of personnel handling the issues of the PWDs and a periodic review shall be taken every six months on achieved targets.
The push by CISF to make airports PWD-friendly comes in the backdrop of a recent incident involving differently-abled actor and dancer Sudha Chandran. Chandran had in a video statement complained that she had felt “humiliated” on being asked by the CISF personnel at Mumbai airport to remove her prosthetic limb. CISF apologised to her soon after and assured her that the force would sensitise its personnel on the protocols again.
Ganapathy, who is holding additional charge of DG, CISF and will soon be making way for the new full-time DG Sheel Vardhan Singh, told TOI that the purpose of the conference – held via hybrid mode – was to standardise the processes for differently-abled passengers across all airports under CISF. The uniform procedures will ensure that such passengers are treated with care and sensitivity during frisking and checking.
A presentation was made at the conference on Thursday by a DIG-level officer on how CISF implements BCAS norms for security checks of differently-abled passengers. The representatives of NGOs were invited to share their experiences and put forth their expectations from CISF aviation security group, regarding the facilitation during security checks. They were encouraged to give suggestions that could ease the process.

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