NEW DELHI

Security high on agenda for Commonwealth Games

WORK IN PROGRESS: Indian Olympic Association president and Chief Organiser of Commenwealth Games 2010 Suresh Kalmadi inspecting the progress of the Games Village in New Delhi on Tuesday. At right is a view of the apartment blocks in the Village.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Indian Olympic Association president and Chief Organiser of Commenwealth Games 2010 Suresh Kalmadi inspecting the progress of the Games Village in New Delhi on Tuesday. At right is a view of the apartment blocks in the Village.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: V. Sudershan

Staff Reporter

‘Govt. pulling out all stops to ensure fool-proof security’

NEW DELHI: With 500 days to go for the Commonwealth Games in the Capital and 44 per cent work complete, security seems to be the only concern for the Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

Asserting that all works related to the Games are on schedule, he told media persons on Tuesday that the Government was pulling out all stops to ensure fool-proof security during the event.

He said the security arrangements were being looked into by the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi and the Union Home Ministry. Internal security of the country apart, the Organising Committee is equally concerned about the security in the neighbourhood. The recent developments in Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have evoked concern globally about the security of athletes, officials and the visitors from the 71 participating countries.

“The General Assembly of all the counties (that are participating) will visit Delhi in October and we have to satisfy them on the security front,” he said, adding, “We are following the Beijing standard of security that was in place during the Olympics.”

As for the completion of various stadiums, the Games Village and the various other projects including hotels for the Games, Mr. Kalmadi assured that the work would be completed on time. “The completion date for most of the projects is December 2009 and that will be met. If at all there is a delay, it will be by a month or two. The velodrome and the rugby stadium will be delayed by a month, but everything will be in place by March 2010.”

Even as he was confident that the event would be a success, Mr. Kalmadi expressed hope that like former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi lent his support to the Asian Games in 1982, his son Rahul would follow suit and associate himself with the Commonwealth Games.

“Rahul’s involvement in the Games will help in getting the Olympics to India.”

Dismissing fears of the current economic downturn affecting the pace of work, especially the construction of the luxurious apartments in the Games Village, he said: “A stable governments at the Centre and a stable government in the State will take care of that. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have taken great interest in the Games.”

Referring to the arrangements for the visitors who will flock to see the Games, he said: “ITDC Ashok Hotel will be the hotel for the Games; accommodation for the athletes and the officials as well as the visitors both domestic and foreign is on target. The Governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are also helping and the Delhi Development Authority has given us 3,000 flats that are being done up by the ITDC.”

He said arrangements are under way for the baton relay that will start from Buckingham Palace in London in November this year to reach Delhi after going to all the 71 participating countries.

Volunteers, catering managers, training and competition managers for the Games will come from abroad and the organising committee is expecting more than double the revenues projected from television sponsorship including those from countries like Australia, New Zealand and Cyprus.

He also ruled out any possibility of Games Village construction being stalled on account of an ongoing case in the Supreme Court. He said there had been no stay order given so far and that he expects no hurdles on the legal front.

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