NEW DELHI: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will develop an app and have a dedicated helpline to facilitate seamless pre-departure security checks for persons with disabilities. CISF’s outgoing acting director-general MA Ganapathy on Thursday organised a mega meet with NGOs representing the divyang and top officials of aviation ministry and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, that was virtually attended by chief airport security officers (CASO) of all 64 airports secured by the force.
Following the meet, it was decided to form a committee of stakeholders at all airports under CISF cover to examine issues faced by persons with disabilities. Personnel will be given special training for sensitive security checks of the divyang. The policy and its implementation will be reviewed every six months to constantly fine tune it, said an official. Ganapathy assured NGOs that “CISF is committed to address issues related to the differently-abled”. Thursday’s meet was attended by about 10 NGO representatives in person and over 150 virtually.
The paramilitary force had in December 2020 started a pilot project at Hyderabad Airport where it posted some personnel in plain clothes who identify people with special needs as they enter the terminal. They are then taken to a dedicated area where arrangement has been made for sensitive security checks. The plan was to have a dedicated corridor for security check for the divyang. Called ‘ swarnim sewa’, Thursday’s mega meet led the CISF to decide on extending this to other airports too.
“Our aim is to ensure sensitive and hassle free screening of persons with disabilities without compromising on security requirements. Also, there is a need to standardise these security checks across all airports. So on Thursday, we held a virtual dialogue with over 100 organisations representing persons with disabilities and all the chief airport security officers of CISF were also present in the meeting. The effort will be to harmonise the views of the participants with the security protocols and standardise its implementation,” Ganapathy, DG of National Security Guards, who is holding additional charge as head of CISF for the past few months, said.
The aim of Thursday’s conference was to discuss standardisation of processes across all the airports under CISF security cover in dealing with persons with disabilities, and to minimise problems faced by them during pre-embarkation security checks at airports. CISF, during the meet, explained the security compulsions for foolproof checks. The current security guidelines for frisking differently-abled passengers, their equipments like wheelchairs, prosthetics and others were brought in by BCAS following the 2016 Somalia blast where a wheelchair-bound passenger was suspected to have carried out a blast in an aircraft after evading security at the Mogadishu airport. NGO representatives of NGODs were invited to share their experiences and also say how the process could be improved further.

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