NEW DELHI: Passengers will not have to shell out more money at the Delhi airport as proposed by airport operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL). The civil aviation ministry has rejected DIAL’s proposal for increase in the passenger security fee (PSF) and it has instead proposed to create a consolidated fund to meet the security expense at Delhi airport.
According to sources, the ministry plans to manage all the expenses from the consolidated fund that will also have PSF. The DIAL had sought the PSF to be increased, saying they are unable to carry on day to day security-related operations at Delhi. At present, every departing passenger pays Rs 200 as security fee. However, ministry officials said that increasing the fee is not a solution and is not the right way forward.
A senior civil ministry official, who did not wish to be named, said, “Increasing the PSF does not make sense. It is true that PSF has remained constant but the money collected from PSF has increased over the years on account of the increase in passenger flow over the years.” Pertinently, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had recently written to the ministry seeking their intervention in releasing dues of about Rs 655.40 crore from DIAL. Over 4,000 CISF personnel are posted at Delhi airport and there is a proposal to increase the manpower further considering the sensitivity of the installation.
From 9.43 million passengers departing from Delhi airport in 2006-07, the passenger flow increased to 16.31 million in 2014-15. In 2016, Delhi airport handled 55.65 million passengers of which about 50 percent were departing. DIAL has claimed that collection of fees in last 10 years has increased by 171.32 per cent but the corresponding expenditure has also gone up by 706.68 per cent.
Sources said that the ministry is also considering audit of Delhi airport’s PSF account. “The consolidated fund will be used for salary and other operational expenses. There will be a different fund for security equipment required for the airport. The account of all the airports will be common so that money can be diverted wherever it is required.”
The cost of deployment of CISF is borne by the installation where it is in place and the amount goes to a consolidated fund of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). MHA pays the salary to CISF. According to sources, the payment of CISF staff posted at Delhi airport remained smooth till September 2012 and problems in payment of CISF staff arose after this period.
Out of the PSF of Rs 200 collected from each departing passenger, Rs 130 is collected towards security component while Rs 70 is collected as facilitation charge. In 2016-17, DIAL collected Rs 382 crore from passengers but paid Rs 204 crore to CISF claiming rest of the amount is paid as loan interest, service tax and administrative charges.