The Juhu airport authorities have decided to barricade areas which are not under use to cut costs required for providing security.
The airport, which is the oldest civil aviation airport in the country, has been facing threats from anti-national elements, who can use it as a launch pad to attack the main airport at Santa Cruz.
A number of security alerts have been issued by intelligence agencies in the recent past.
The airport does not have even a single armed guard at present.
“We are identifying and barricading unused areas so that we can minimise the number of security personnel required. These areas could be opened later when required,” said M Yadagiri, director, Juhu airport.
As per an earlier plan, 174 personnel from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), who guard all civil aviation airports in the country, were sanctioned for the protection of the airport. However, the plan was not implemented as airport authorities had to pay around
Rs12 crore per year to the CISF and provide for their accommodation as well.
Authorities then decided to hire the services of the local police, who don’t charge as much as the CISF does, and whose accommodation is provided by the state
Sources said that a proposal from the Juhu airport is already pending with the police who are estimating the number of personnel required at the airport.
Soil sample taken for test before development work
Civil aviation authorities took soil samples from Juhu airport recently to take the initiative of the airport’s development forward.
Experts said that soil and water samples have to be studied before commencing any infrastructure project, especially airports, bridges and ports.
The project can be sanctioned only if the results are favourable, they added.
The government is strongly pushing for the development of the airport so that a section of air traffic from the Mumbai airport can be diverted which will ease congestion.
As per a proposed plan, the airport’s runway is expected to be extended till the adjoining Juhu beach. The project is expected to cost over Rs2,000 crore, said officials.
A special committee comprising officials from the civil aviation ministry and the state government has been formed to speed up civil aviation projects in the state including the Juhu airport.