Centre sanctions over 150 armed CISF commandos security cover for Ayodhya airport


PTI, Jan 10, 2024, 8:17 AM IST

Maharishi Valmiki International Airport, in Ayodhya. (Credit: PTI /File)

Ayodhya/New Delhi: The Union home ministry has sanctioned a more than 150 personnel strong CISF anti-terrorist cover for the Ayodhya airport, days before the high-profile consecration ceremony at the Ram temple on January 22, official sources said on Tuesday.

The ‘Maharishi Valmiki International Airport, Ayodhyadham’ has become the 68th civil airport terminal in the country to come under the umbrella of the specialised aviation security group (ASG) of the central force.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will provide an anti-terrorist and anti-sabotage cover to the Ayodhya airport that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2023, official sources said.

The force will frisk passengers and their baggage and secure the perimeter of the facility, like what is done at other national and international airports, they said.

An armed contingent of more than 150 CISF personnel under the command of a Deputy Commandant rank officer has been sanctioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for securing the Ayodhya airport that will be enhanced in phases over the 821 acres of land sanctioned for it, they said.

PTI had reported last year that the new airport in the holy town will be secured by the CISF, given the threat perception to the facility that will serve as the air gateway to pilgrims and visitors.

A review by central security and intelligence agencies recommended a professional security cover for the airport like the one provided by the CISF.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had said last year that the capacity of the airport will be enhanced gradually.

“In the first phase, the airport will be spread across 65,000 square feet. Its capacity will be to handle two to three flights every hour. Work is on to build a 2,200-metre-long runway. It means that Boeing 737 and Airbus 319 and 320 will be able to land at this airport. Initially, there is an airport apron for eight aircraft,” Scindia had told reporters.

He also said that soon approval from the Cabinet will be taken for the second phase.

“In the second phase, as already said by the chief minister (Yogi Adityanath), the length of the runway will be increased from 2,200 metres to 3,700 metres. In other words, the length of the runway will be around four kilometres, so that international aircraft like Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 can land in Ayodhya,” Scindia said.

The minister added that the second phase of the airport will be 50,000 square metres.

The CISF was entrusted with the task of guarding civil airports in the aftermath of the 1999 hijack of the Indian Airlines Kathmandu -Delhi flight, IC-814, to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

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