Friday, August 1, 2008

Delhi University welcomes Youth Games baton

It’s the order of the hour what Honour, excitement, celebration and international acclaim. That’s what the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 baton will bring to Delhi University as it passes through North Campus on Friday.
The baton will pass through 18 DU colleges as well as the campuses of Jamia Millia Islamia University and Jawaharlal Nehru University over two days. The relay will be flagged off from the north campus sports complex and chief minister Sheila Dikshit and several well-known sportspersons are expected to participate in the event on the first day.
While much in the way of festivities has been planned in the colleges, the issue of security has been a cause of concern. With the city under a heavy security blanket following the twin blasts at Bangalore and Ahmedabad, police are refusing to take any chances. “The red alert in the city has forced us to adopt all precautions, especially since a number of sportsmen and dignitaries are expected to visit the venues,” said a senior official associated with the event.
On Friday, there will be a live performance by Rabbi Shergil and Palash Sen at 11.30 am after which the baton relay will be flagged off at 12.30 pm. The baton will go to each college on the campus. It will halt at each for only five minutes during which five outstanding students or faculty members of the college will get to hold the baton. On Saturday, the baton will go to the south campus.
The Commonwealth Youth Games is being held for the third time and this year, 71 countries will be taking part in the extravaganza to be held in Pune in October. “DU is not the host for the baton relay, but only a venue. However, nothing like this has happened in DU before and students are excited about taking part in the relay. About 500 students have already turned up for rehearsals,” said Jitendra Naruka, director, sports, Delhi University.
While the students appeared excited, they also felt they did not have enough time to celebrate. “We wish we could have welcomed the baton in a big way in our college. But as we just have five minutes, only five of our international-level athletes will carry the baton,” said Meenakshi Ahuja, HOD, sports, Lady Shri Ram College. She added that about two minutes will also be spent in collecting water from every college, which will be put in the youth fountain being made in Pune. “All our students are excited as this would be a rare experience, but we have very little time,” said S R Arora, principal, Hans Raj College.
With the issue of security casting a shadow on the event, security agencies and police are leaving no stones unturned. “We will follow all anti-terrorism measures including securing all entry and exit points leading to the stadium. The bomb disposal squad will also scan the venue. The car parking has been organized opposite the School of Open Learning about a kilometer from the venue on the first day. Each visitor will be frisked,” said a senior police official. “We have already placed our men at the site from where the relay will be flagged off,” said Devesh Srivastava, DCP (North). Sources in the police said that the security agencies will secure all rooftops. Plain clothes policemen will also infiltrate hostels in order to sanitize them.

Source: Times of India News Paper, Delhi Edition


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