Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Games security check will have to wait, till August

Deployment of at least 1,400 personnel from the central paramilitary forces, who were to conduct checks and seal all Commonwealth Games venues from April, has been put on hold till August 1.

The forces, including the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Border Security Force (BSF), were to perform anti-sabotage checks to secure the venues at least six months in advance.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had decided on the deployment of forces after intelligence agencies received inputs on the possibility that militants could plant improvised explosive devices inside the venues, which would be timed to trigger months later during the Games this October. The CISF had done a security audit of all 36 venues earlier this year and recommended that personnel from various paramilitary forces and the Delhi Police be deployed at the venues from April 1 and bar public entry till the Games begin.

Speaking to Newsline, Special Adviser to the Games Ramesh Narayanswamy said some venues will still take time to be completed. “The paramilitary forces will not seal the venues before August 1. Once they begin the exercise, no movement will be allowed inside the venues,” he said.

Once the venues are sealed, only authorised personnel will be allowed entry using security access passes. Strict security measures will be put in place to screen even authorised entrants at various levels.

According to sources, however, the Delhi Police has said it cannot provide accommodation and vehicles for all paramilitary personnel in advance. Top sources now say the forces would not be deployed before September.

In the original plan, 600 CISF men were to be deployed from April at the five most sensitive Games venues — Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Siri Fort Sports Complex, Games Village, IGI Stadium and Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

At least 500 CRPF personnel were to guard another 15 venues, including Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Yamuna Sports Complex and Shivaji Stadium. While 125 personnel from the ITBP were to take over four other venues, including Jamia Millia Islamia and Thyagaraj Sports Complex, 140 SSB personnel were to guard three venues, including the R K Khanna Sports Complex.

In March this year, CISF Director General N R Das had announced, “The CISF will be part of a composite security mechanism ... working along with the Delhi Police. 500 men will guard the five venues from April 1. A month before the Games, our 4,000 men and 300 commandos will be pressed into action.”

The venues were to be handed over to the Games Organising Committee in September, when NSG commandos, along with 5,000 CISF personnel, will be deployed.

Amritsar prepares to receive baton

Amritsar: Preparations are on in full swing at the Attari Border to receive the Queen’s Baton on Friday. The Indian Olympic Association (IOC) has organised a grand cultural programme to welcome the baton which will finally enter India after covering 70 Commonwealth countries. The baton reached Pakistan from Bangladesh on Wednesday. IOC vice-chief Abhey Chautala crossed over to Pakistan on Wednesday to represent India in the functions there.

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