Saturday, August 28, 2010

NO Time for Security Rehearsals

In a volte-face of sorts, Delhi Police said on Monday that its primary aim is to ensure a safe Commonwealth Games and nothing has affected preparations so far. The statement comes days after special commissioner (administration) Neeraj Kumar said in a news conference that the ‘‘delay’’ in handing over the sporting venues could have been avoided from the security point of view.

In fact, sources said they ‘‘requested’’ civic agencies to complete the ‘‘crucial’’ part of the construction work before the police took over the venues on September 1.

The fresh defense became necessary following allegations that at several key venues like the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the Games Village, several security apparatus like cameras, sensors and the much-needed Intrusion Detection System is yet to be installed or tested yet.

The sources said the home ministry would have liked ‘‘extensive testing of the security apparatus, preferably for three months’’. Under the changed circumstances, the security forces are likely to get only 14 days of full dress rehearsals.

A senior officer of Delhi police said mock exercises have already begun at all the venues and 60 drills have so far been conducted. ‘‘The most important job is to familiarise the security forces with the layout of the venues. We do not need heavy gadgets or armoury to carry out such drills,” said the officer.

A company named Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) was hired to install security devices at the venues. However, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, for example, a wall around the stadium where the gadgets had to be fitted is yet to be completed.

‘‘A safety audit by an Australian firm appointed by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CWF) has expressed satisfaction about the security. Representatives from 21 nations have been shown the security and traffic plans for two consecutive days and all of them were satisfied. So where is the question of failing the test?’’ asked an official.