The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security for not starting work on two vital aviation security projects, even after up to 13 years of being approved. The CAG expressed disappointment over the fact that such delays exist even though there are terror threats to the country.
The apex auditing body, in a report tabled in Parliament, also criticised the Planning Commission for not monitoring the status of the projects effectively. It has also asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to set up a 'definite timeline' for completion of the projects.
Work on the Civil Aviation Security Training Academy (CASTA) and construction of an office building for the Regional Deputy Commissioner of Security (RDCOS) at Mumbai has not commenced yet, the CAG said.
While CASTA was approved 13 years ago, the government had given its nod for RDCOS six years back, it added.
In its audit report for 2010-11, the CAG said, "These cases highlight the apathetic attitude of the authorities towards strengthening civil aviation security in the country despite the increasing menace of global terrorism and repeated terrorist attacks in India and elsewhere."
Criticising the Planning Commission and other agencies, the apex auditor of the country said, "This case also highlights that neither the Planning Commission nor any other agency is effectively monitoring timely execution of projects relating to civil aviation security."
The establishment of CASTA was recommended by an inter-ministerial group in 1993, in the wake of hijackings of four Indian Airlines flights.
Subsequently, the Planning Commission approved the project in December 1996 with an allocation of Rs 16.87 crore during the 9th Five Year Plan, which was enhanced to Rs 25 crore in the 10th Plan. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) was paid Rs 2.65 crore in advance towards consultancy charges and preliminary activities in 2003.
However, it is yet to take off as the site for the proposed academy has not been finalised so far, the CAG noted.
The CAG has recommended that "given the importance of this project in strengthening civil aviation security in the country, the (Civil Aviation) Ministry must set a definite timeline, within which the academy would be set up."