Saturday, April 24, 2010

Markets to be Closed on Opening and Closing Ceremony

Delhi Police wants all major Delhi markets to be closed on the opening and closing days of the Commonwealth Games 2010. The opening ceremony of the 11-day sporting extravaganza will be held on October 3 and the closing ceremony will be held on October 14, both at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The list of markets which the cops want shut on those two days include Khan Market, Chandni Chowk, Sarojini Nagar, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Lajpat Nagar, Rajouri Garden, and others which are popular with foreign nationals.

The move comes days after the US, UK and Australia issued advisories warning their citizens about possible terror attacks in the capital in areas frequented by foreigners. The Delhi Police advisory was sent to various market associations, with the cops asking shop owners to help manage the mega event. Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, ‘‘We have asked the market associations for their support as that will help Delhi Police manage the Games and manpower can then be utilized in other places.”

Another senior officer of Delhi Police said the closure of the markets will reduce the burden of law and order on Delhi Police. There will be less traffic and we will be able to focus on security for the Games. Since it is an 11-day sporting event, our resources will be exhausted. The markets can stay open on their weekly offs in lieu of the days they are being asked to shut down,” said an officer. The opening ceremony will take place on October 3, a Sunday, while the closing ceremony will be held on October 14, which is a Thursday and which is likely to be declared a national holiday by the government.

A shopkeeper from Connaught Place said, ‘‘who will bear our losses? Delhi Police wants the entire city to stay inside their houses so they can provide security for Games.”

President of Khan Market Association, Sanjeev Mehra, however, said, ‘‘we will cooperate with the police. It’s a question of national honor and we want to extend our support. All shopkeepers will follow the advisory. Sales will suffer but there was no need for the police to use coercion when asking for markets to be shut down.”