Hardeep Singh Puri (Image: PIB via PTI Photo)
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday that the central government was issuing too many airport entry permits (AEPs) and it was time to restrict certain parts such as the baggage area to a specific set of AEP-holders.
"The fact is that we are issuing too many airport passes...I can understand that the airport access is wanted by tourist operators and so and so," said Puri, while launching the biometric-based AEP system on Monday.
"I also understand that if you suddenly curtail this you have a problem on your hands because those people say that tourism industry is already moribund and you are putting more restrictions," he added.
Currently, around 2 lakh employees of various stakeholders -- airlines, ground handling agencies, food chain operators, etc -- have AEP passes who move in & out of the airport on a daily basis.
Covering 43 airports of AAI and five joint venture airports at present, the biometric-enabled Centralised Access Control System (CACS) project will digitise the employee movement process.
Till date, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) - which works under the Civil Aviation Ministry - has been issuing laminated paper based AEP at the 48 airports.
The minister said, "I am not saying that they (tourist operators, etc) should be stopped. But even amongst them, how many people do you want at the airport to be?"
"I think we should, in a subsequent phase, start looking at some areas of the airport - especially where baggage handling is done and other things are done - it should not be open to anybody walking in," he added.
Puri also launched the 'e-BCAS Project: Training Module' aimed at helping more than 1.5 lakh employees of various stakeholders by migrating from manual process of training to digital platform.
All 29 Aviation Security Training Institutes (ASTIs) - most of them are run by Indian airline companies - have been registered as user entities and they can make nominations for various courses online under e-BCAS project.
Moreover, the project will also allow its users to check the approvals by BCAS, declaration of results and QR coded online certificate generation will also be done through this project only.