India’s Home Secretary asks to maintain pace in streamlining departure, arrivals at Delhi Airport

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FILE PHOTO: A bird flies over a logo of Air India airlines at the corporate headquarters in Mumbai, India, October 19, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Monday, January 9, 2023, requested stakeholders concerned to maintain the pace in streamlining the departure and arrivals at Delhi Airport.

Bhalla’s request came while chairing a high-level meeting here in the national capital with the major stakeholders to review streamlining of infrastructure at Delhi Airport, a Home Ministry statement said. The Home Secretary also assured the Ministry will coordinate with the stakeholders from time to time.

“Union Home Secretary assured to coordinate and requested the stakeholders to maintain the pace in streamlining the departure and arrivals in Delhi Airport,” said the statement from Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation; Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI); Director General Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS); Director General Central Industrial Security Force, Bureau of Immigration, Delhi Police, and Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL),

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GMR and security agencies attended the meeting which started at the Home Ministry.

The meeting was informed that a steady ramping up of capacities had taken place since the last review meeting held on December 15, 2022.

It was apprised that many important steps have been taken which include close monitoring and revised scheduling of air slots that have reduced incidents of bunching of flights.

To facilitate quicker immigration, the Home Secretary was apprised additional counters have been made functional along with the posting of adequate manpower.

“Baggage scanners have been increased by doubling up the capacity in the domestic bay, and the Immigration counter area has been de-cluttered.”

Delhi Police has also increased deployment for traffic lane management.

It was also informed that on the basis of a Stakeholder Committee evaluation, the DIAL GMR has revised a modern layout plan for Immigration Bay.

“This is likely to be completed in three months, without causing any disruptions in the present immigration clearance time. The proposal includes setting up of Documentation and Biometrics booths in Walkways to avoid cluttering in Immigration Bay.”

Last month, several social media complaints appeared  about the massive congestion at Delhi Airport followed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia paying a surprise visit to the Indira Gandhi International Airport and inspecting all the suspected congested areas and interacting with the airport staff.

According to sources, recent incidents of misbehavior in airlines also emerged during the meeting that lasted for nearly 30 minutes.

The meeting was held amid news circulated regarding misbehavior by an Air India passenger, later identified as Shankar Mishra, who had allegedly urinated on a co-passenger’s seat in an inebriated state mid-air on a flight from New York to Delhi.

Mishra was later arrested by the Delhi Police from Bengaluru. The arrest comes a day after he was sacked by his California-headquartered employer Wells Fargo.

The Air India case has triggered outrage on social media. A similar incident was reported on another recent flight of Air India. On Friday, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) issued a notice to the Delhi Police over alleged harassment and misconduct by passengers.

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