Passenger fee hike feared at Delhi Airport as CISF dues mount
New Delhi: Delayed payment by GMR-led DIAL, the Delhi airport operator, to the CISF guards could eventually lead to passengers paying more to fly out of the Indian Capital.
The issue of non-payment to the CISF at the Delhi airport has snowballed into a slugfest between the operator and various ministries.
DIAL, in which GMR has a majority stake, collects the passenger security fee (PSF) from various airlines and submits the same in an Escrow account to be paid to CISF. But the CISF is not being paid, and the dues have mounted to Rs 566 crores. DIAL said it is using a portion of the cash for other obligations.
For the records, DIAL collected Rs 382 crore as the passenger service fee (PSF) in 2017, paid Rs 204 crore to CISF and used rest for paying loan dues. DIAL also paid Rs 486 crore to service loans taken from the Corporation Bank. Out of Rs 486 crore, Rs 107 crore was paid to clear interest on loans and Rs 299 crore on security related capital expenditure.
DIAL said it was allowed by the UPA government - the Civil Aviation ministry was under Praful Patel - to service the loan from the PSF(SC) fund through a letter dated April 10, 2010. What is interesting, the very ministry - four months before issuing the April 10, 2010 letter - had asked DIAL not to service the loan from the PSF (SC) fund.
DIAL says its unable to clear dues for the CISF because of a host of reasons, most importantly the spiralling salaries and other costs of 4573 guards at the two airports ever since Seventh Pay Commission guidelines came into place in 2014. “Total passenger security fee expenses has increased by more than 700 percent since 2006, the total passenger service fee income has increased merely by 171 percent since 2006, leaving a huge gap between incomes and expenses,” DIAL director Narayan Rao wrote in a letter to Civil Aviation secretary on January 18, 2018.
Worse, the new T2 airport operations will need 556 CISF guards, claimed Rao. He said it will cost the airport operator another Rs 100 crore.
At the Indira Gandhi International Airports, Delhi, DIAL collects Rs 130 per passenger as passenger service fee (PSF) as security component. A portion of the salaries of the CISF guards at the airport are made out of this payment, collected by various airlines and put into an escrow account.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which provides security at the airport, has also written to the civil aviation ministry seeking its intervention in release of mounting dues from GMR-led DIAL.
The salary of CISF staff is not totally affected by the delay in payment but it causes loss to the government. The cost of deployment of CISF personnel is borne by the respective installation and is paid to a consolidated fund of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under which the CISF functions.
“The escalating outstanding dues are a matter of grave concern,” then CISF DG OP Singh in a letter to the ministry last year.