Centre Mulls Setting Up Bureau Of Port Security To Standardise Security Across All Ports In The Country


The Centre will soon set up the Bureau of Port Security to upgrade security across all the ports in the country, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said on 19 August.

Currently, all 12 major ports are guarded by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which works under the command of the Union Home Ministry.

However, the responsibility of developing and providing security to the other non-major (minor) ports lies with the State Governments or the concerned Union Territory Administration.

The Central Security Agencies also conduct security audit in respect of some minor ports and reports and recommendation of such security audit are sent to the Port authorities concerned for appropriate action.

Notably, the CISF is also the national civil aviation protection force and provides armed security cover to 66 airports as part of its aviation security group (ASG).

The move to standardise security at all ports across the country, irrespective of their classification as major or non-major, follows recent incidents of smuggling of drugs into India using maritime routes.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had seized 2,988 kg of heroin, smuggled from Afghanistan, from a container freight station at Mundra port in Gujarat in 2021.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in its investigation in connection with the September 2021 Mundra port drug haul case said, “During the investigation, it has also emerged that an organised network of syndicate members was being run by foreign-based narcotic traders for importing the heroin-laden consignments into Indian ports (Mundra, Kolkata) and its further delivery to various warehouses located at New Delhi. The India-based network of Afghan nationals was responsible for hiring these warehouses and for processing/extracting and distributing the heroin once it reached New Delhi.”

The dedicated security bureau will provide uniform security cover for all ports and prevent smuggling through the maritime route.