Saturday, August 21, 2010

Games Convoys to have Choppers as Guards

Even as the government on Wednesday claimed that there was no ‘‘specific threat’’ to the Commonwealth Games, the security agencies which have a grand plan to secure all the stadiums and the Games village by installing multi-layered cover will take over all the venues for various drills and setting up sophisticated gadgets on September 1, keeping in mind the ‘‘general threat’’ to such a mega event.

Stating about the threat perception, the minister of state for home affairs Ajay Maken informed the Rajya Sabha that there was no specific input suggesting threat to the Games.

‘‘However, there is a general threat from those militant groups who want to strike at high profile targets,’’ he said in a written reply. Maken said security arrangements in National Capital Region are being regularly reviewed in the meetings of Empowered Security Committee, headed by the Union home secretary.

Meanwhile, stating about the security plan, home ministry officials said the security agencies would start their work for putting in place metal barriers, tyre busters, CCTV and metal detector and start anti-sabotage drill.

‘‘The security will be similar to the one put in place in Parliament. Each and every inch of the venues and the village will have to be sanitized. One month is hardly any time for the security agencies. So, we will have to take possession of them,’’ said an official. Mock security drill will be held by security agencies apart from issuing electronic bar code to authorized cars and bus that will be allowed entry.

‘‘We have to even check the toilets being put in place outside the venues for spectators or security personnel,’’ said the official. The taking over of the Games venues and the village assumes urgency as the first batch of athletes and officials will arrive here on September 15.

Over 10,000 athletes from 71 countries and 500,000 spectators are expected at the Games to be held between October 3 and 14. According to the security plan, athletes, officials and guests can visit the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium only by bus and no VIPs, except the heads of state, will be allowed to take their cars inside the stadium.

Parking arrangement has been made for 150 buses at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue for the sporting extravaganza. Each of the 13 competition venues will have a tight security ring and special arrangements will be made to transport the athletes to and from the Games village escorted by helicopters carrying commando snipers keeping an eye on the convoys.