Mumbai: Multi-level parking coming up at domestic terminal

Jul 21, 2015, 07:29 IST | Neha LM Tripathi

According to airport officials, a multi-level car parking is being built near the Air India office as a solution to the threat the present parking lot poses to the ATC tower; mid-day had reported on the issue yesterday

A multi-level car parking (MLCP) facility seems to be the solution to the potential bomb threat to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower at the domestic terminal of the city’s airport.

A day after mid-day reported how the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had warned the city airport officials that the car parking at the domestic terminal was too close to the ATC tower, officials told this correspondent that a new mega car park facility is being built and would be ready within a few months.

mid-day had reported in its front page story yesterday that the AAI had expressed grave concerns over how the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) was handling security issues near the domestic terminal.

A reply to a Right To Information (RTI) query had revealed AAI’s stern warning that the car parking near the domestic terminal was only 10-15 metres away from the ATC tower, a clear violation of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) norms, which state that any car parking had to be at least 100 metres away from a terminal building.

View of the car park at the domestic airport from the Air Traffic Control tower. File pic

AAI, in its letter, had also told the airport operator that the car park, which surrounds the ATC complex on three sides, had exposed a vital installation like the ATC tower to a bomb threat, since any subversive forces could plant an explosive in a vehicle parked in the parking lot.

In their letter, AAI had asked the MIAL to arrange for a new car park away from the ATC as soon as possible. Sources told mid-day that a new parking facility is being constructed near Terminal 1B of the domestic terminal. This MLCP will comprise two basement levels and five floors above them, including the ground floor.

This, according to airport authorities, is the solution to AAI’s security concerns regarding the ATC tower. An MIAL official said, “After being asked to shift the parking area away from the ATC and terminal building, this MLCP is coming up near the Air India office at the domestic terminal.

This will allow all the parking spaces to be shifted to this MLCP, vacating all the current parking places.” According to airport officials, the construction of this MLCP building is in process, and the installation of surveillance cameras is next on the to-do list. An MIAL official said the allotment of the vehicles was yet to be decided.

“As of now, allocation of slots to vehicles needs to be done. We will soon decide which types of vehicles (two-wheelers, four-wheelers) will be allocated what floor.” This structure, spanning over 20,000 square feet, is touted to be one of the largest constructions on the city side of the terminal.

Official speak
The new multi-level car parking facility would be functional a few months later, confirmed an MIAL spokesperson.

The issue

>> In reply to his query, RTI activist Vishwas Bhamburkar had received copies of correspondence between AAI and MIAL

>> AAI had carried out an inspection in October last year, and pointed out several security loopholes

>> It had expressed concern that the car parking near the domestic terminal was just 10-15 metres away from the ATC, while BCAS security norms called for a distance of at least 100 metres

>> It had said that subversive forces could plant a bomb in a car at the parking facility, and affect the ATC tower

>> MIAL had said it had enough surveillance and a “bomb effect mitigation plan” (an RCC compound wall)

>> AAI had not been satisfied with MIAL’s replies, questioning how Central Industrial Security Force personnel would detect explosives if they had no detection systems

>> They had also asked if this mitigation plan had followed any standards or if the RCC wall had been tested and certified by a government agency

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