Trying to dispel the gloom surrounding the preparedness for the Commonwealth Games, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday admitted that “minor hitches and glitches” were there but the international event was not collapsing.
Noting that all efforts were being made to ensure the success of the Games, she said: “This is not my Games. This is not your Games. This event is of the whole country. We should look at it as an opportunity. Please be positive.”
Her appeal came even as nine tiles, measuring 2X2ft, on the false ceiling in the weightlifting arena of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Complex collapsed in the morning. No one was injured. Sources at the stadium said it was a minor mishap and must have occurred when maintenance staff were carrying out last-minute checks.
Talking to journalists at the Secretariat, Ms. Dikshit stressed the need for looking at the “positives” of the preparations, saying a lot of infrastructure had been created. Stating that “minor hiccups” did occur before such big events, she asserted that everything would fall into place by the time the Games started.
“I would like to tell you categorically that these minor glitches and hitches do happen but to say that the whole thing is collapsing … I am sorry, we do not agree with that.”
“When so much preparation is involved, there will be some problems and there are some problems, but they are not insurmountable. If there is any concern or problem, it would be addressed.”
During her interaction with the press, several issues were raised, apart from the crashing down of a portion of the false ceiling in the weightlifting arena: the firing near the Jama Masjid, the collapse of a foot bridge near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and complaints by delegates of unhygienic conditions at the Games Village.
Ms. Dikshit steered clear of security related issues saying they fell within the domain of the Union Home Ministry and the Delhi police. “The Games security is faultless and a security breach is impossible.”
Security forces take over venues
Meanwhile, security forces took over all Games-related venues. The lockdown will be followed by a massive sanitisation exercise during which Delhi Police personnel, in coordination with agencies such as the National Security Guard, will carry out anti-sabotage checks. Bomb squads and sniffer dogs will be used for combing and screening operations.
“From Wednesday midnight, all access control mechanisms will be activated and only authorised persons will be allowed entry into the guarded venues,” said a police officer.