CISF steps up security


Chennai: Security has been beefed up at the city airport, following the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday and impending Indepen­dence Day.
More number of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel have been posted at the airport to profile passengers and check them randomly one km away from the gates. 
Further, CISF has also posted people both in uniform and civvies in the area between the entry gates and the check-in-counters to check any suspicious activity. Also on Tuesday, a rehearsal was conducted for President’s movement in the city from the airport, while additional armed reserve police have been stationed at the airport.
“As per rule book, we strengthened security near all gates and increased perimeter patrolling for the visit of  President of India. We will not allow any labourer inside the security hold area without special passes. We will also increase our screening on the premises and conduct random checking and even frisk passengers, who have been identified through profiling,” said a senior security official.
Further, following the recent direction to increase profiling, several CISF personnel have been quietly observing people at the airport. “We check passengers only when we have any doubt. And only suspicious people will be frisked,” the official added.
According to officials, since the introduction of in-line baggage handling system where a passenger directly checks in the baggage and takes the boarding card before undergoing the security check, there are possibilities of the hand baggage getting checked very late.
“So to fix the gap, CISF has begun profiling exercise on an experimental basis,” he added. 
Battery blast triggers panic
P. A. Jebaraj | DC

The battery burst inside the Fire Pump House No.4 opposite the administrative block of the airport creating tension on Tuesday. — DC
Chennai: With President Pranab Mukherjee slated to visit the city on Wednesday, confusion prevailed at the city airport on Tuesday, as rumours of a bomb blast spread like wildfire.
Airport officials heaved a sigh of relief later as it turned out to be a battery in a pump house, which triggered the blast. Eyewitnesses said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) staff and people present nearby panicked when the noise was heard.
An alarm was raised immediately and the fire tenders came rushing to the spot. But it was found out that a battery blew up at the fire pump house No.4 near the administration building.
Airport sources said the underground tank present in front of the AAI building on the city side was mainly used for emergency requirement of water pumping. “This particular pump house is for dousing fire during emergency at the administrative block.
We have separate pump houses at other locations for terminals use,” the source added. While electricity is used to pump water, the diesel engine is also kept standby for emergency situations.
“Our staff usually check the emergency systems regularly, and on Tuesday, when they went for routine check at around 1.45 pm, something went wrong. There was a cracker of noise and the lone battery cover was broken. We are yet to ascertain the reason,” the airport source added.
He further said the battery burst was a minor incident and it was in no way connected to the airport operations. When contacted, airport director H. S. Suresh said he was not aware of the incident. 
Airport riddled with disaster
S. Sujatha | DC
Chennai: With a fresh coat of paint and new flooring, the radar room glows at the air traffic control (ATC) building now.
There is no evidence of the black smoke that engulfed the place when UPS batteries in the automation maintenance equipment room burst and spread through the AC duct to the radar room in the early morning of March 12.
The implementation of the enquiry report into the reasons for the UPS battery blast that brought all air traffic control operations to a standstill in Chennai, is still pending. 
At that time, the entire aircraft movement was disrupted for nearly three hours, inconveniencing thousands of passengers. The incident also revealed the inadequacies in the maintenance of equipment at the Chennai ATC which is the nerve centre of south India’s air traffic system, as air traffic controllers sitting here, control all planes flying above 26,000 feet in the southern region.
Sources said that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was still probing whether the incident happened due to electrical short circuit or battery blast.
However, AAI regional executive director (south) D. Devaraj said that the enquiry is over. “We will now have to take precautions as mentioned in the findings,” he added. According to him, both the battery and UPS were suspected for the blast.
“Either the UPS could have triggered the battery blast or the battery could have exploded on its own. But what the finding says is that the battery room has to be separated from the UPS. So we are taking steps to move the battery outside. The technical decision will soon be taken as we have to manage with available space,” he added. 

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