Monday, July 19, 2010

Now Home Secretary to Keep an Eye on work

A day after both the Delhi government and the Organizing Committee of the Commonwealth Games were pulled by a Group of Ministers (GoM) in tumultuous meeting, officials in OC on Thursday got busy in last minute preparations at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and other venues. The reason: a visit by home secretary GK Pillai on Saturday.

The visit, which OC insiders say, is important as it’s being seen as a scouting expedition on behalf of the PMO, comes even as some of the projects scheduled for completion have been delayed. Wednesday’s GoM meeting, according to sources, was acrimonious with the Centre questioning the OC on its preparedness. The condition of roads, which have been dug up for beautification as well as for construction purposes, was discussed at length, added officials. The immediate fallout of the GoM is the visit by the home secretary, added sources, which would be a litmus test for the OC’s level of preparations.

OC spokesperson Lalit Bhanot, however, played down the visit by the home secretary, claiming it was routine. ‘‘The home secretary will be visiting some of the important venues like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and discussing operational issues,’’ said Bhanot, who visited the stadium on Thursday. According to Bhanot, the work at the JN stadium was on schedule. ‘‘The handover should happen as per schedule,’’ he added. Sources said that the stadium, which is the venue for not only athletic events but also the opening and closing ceremonies, was being prepared for the overlay work which is under the OC.

As part of the run-up to the visit by the home secretary, sources in the OC said that security runs would also be conducted. ‘‘The idea is to show the battle readiness of the venues,’’ added the source. Security plans for the venue are elaborate, with dedicated traffic lanes being designated for athletes at the Commonwealth Games 2010.

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