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The plan is pending final policy approval from the home ministry.

New Delhi: According to officials, more than 60 airports operating in tier-two and tier-three cities under the Centre’s regional connectivity plan UDAN would soon be brought under a complete anti-terror security cover of armed CISF personnel with the deployment of approximately 1,650 troops.

The proposal is awaiting final policy sanction from the home ministry. The bureau of civil aviation security (BCAS), in consultation with the ministry of civil aviation and the CISF, finalised the proposal for the “very important security measure” required for the safety of passengers taking flights from small air terminals across India.

Some airports such as Shimla which are under the regional connectivity scheme, are being guarded by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) while the rest are secured by various state police forces or their special armed units and there is no uniform policy.

The Union government introduced the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) regional connectivity scheme on October 21, 2016, to encourage regional air connectivity and make air travel accessible to the public living in tier-2 and tier-3 cities and towns.

The civil aviation ministry is in charge of regulation, while the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is in charge of carrying out the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious plan.

According to a new blueprint obtained by PTI, 57 security personnel will be stationed at each of the UDAN-operated airports, with 27 armed personnel drawn from the CISF and the remainder from licenced private security organisations.

The CISF is the country’s national civil aviation security force, guarding 66 main domestic and international airports.

“The CISF will obtain fresh manpower to protect all the UDAN airports from the pool of 3,049 posts that were recently abolished, from the airports that it is guarding, and replaced by employing a total of 1,924 private security employees for these jobs,” a senior home ministry official said.

Officials said that the concerned state government and the AAI will provide lodging for the 57 personnel who are expected to be deployed at each airport under the regional connectivity scheme, in addition to installing security gadgets and equipment such as hand-held metal detectors for passenger frisking and baggage scanning x-ray machines.

These facilities do not need to be on airport grounds because the terminals are small and there are few flights from there. The accommodation facilities can be supplied at a nearby government barrack or residential unit, and in other situations, the CISF will draw its manpower from the nearest available security unit, from which the troops can make a short trip in order to be in place before the departure, they stated.

“Because passenger tickets under the UDAN programme are inexpensive, the plan provided to the home ministry has kept expenditures under control and security measures effective,” a senior security officer explained.

The CISF will be in charge of general anti-terror and anti-hijacking protection. It would also ensure monitoring and protection of the

According to the strategy, the CISF would deploy about 1,650 personnel to protect airports under the regional connectivity scheme, while the BCAS will certify and licence private security employees for each airport.

“Regional connectivity scheme airports are as as vital as any other large airport. The new idea intends to equip these tiny airports with extensive armed security coverage, and it is expected to be made policy soon “According to a home ministry official.

Through the UDAN initiative, around 1.15 crore Indians who had never flown before were able to experience air travel, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia informed Parliament during the recently concluded session in December.

He stated that UDAN presently has 11 airlines, three of which are startups, as well as 70 additional airports. “Aside from these, we want to build 68 new airports by the end of 2024 to diversify the civil aviation sector,” the minister stated.

Over 2.15 lakh UDAN flights have been flown. According to the minister’s response, the scheme has altered the way people travel by providing affordable air connection to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

According to him, the government of India has sanctioned a budget of Rs 4,500 crore for the resurrection of existing unserved or underserved airports and airstrips of state governments, AAI, public sector organisations, and civic enclaves.

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