Friday, June 25, 2010

Weather factor changes Ganges journey plan

With ‘weather factor’ likely to play an important role, the Queen’s Baton Relay’s journey over the Ganges has been shortened. After a modification in the unique travel plan for the Baton in UP, now the Baton will be reaching Varanasi from Chunar through the Ganga instead of a longer journey from Allahabad to Varanasi planned earlier. The Baton will be taking about one and a half hours through this route which it will be taking on July 12.
Talking to The Indian Express, Principal Secretary Sports (UP) Lalit Varma said, “ After studying the feasibility of taking the baton for Commonwealth Games from Allahabad to Varanasi on a motor boat, we decided that the weather may not be all that supportive for the 7-hour long journey on the river. So now, the Baton will cover a distance of 20 km from Allahabad on the river, then it would be travelling on road again. After reaching Chunar, the Relay will be visiting the ‘Qila’ (fort) there and after that from Chunar till Varanasi, it will be a motor boat journey again.”

Director Sports (UP) Hari Om informed, “ The motor-boat is expected to have 70 to 80 members of the relay team.” While the video conferencing with the Principal Secretary, Sports, and the District Magistrates of the districts where the Baton Relay will pass, have been held twice, an important meeting between the officials from the Organising Committee of Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi and Atul Kumar Gupta, Chief Secretary (UP) was held at Lucknow on March 29 to discuss the modalities of the Queen’s Baton Relay’s travel through Up.

“A final meeting for making the Baton relay a big success will take place on June 28. It will be presided over by the Chief Secretary (UP). DMs and SPs of all concerned districts, sports department officials, UP Olympic Association officials, DGP (UP) besides medical, health, PWD and Cultural department officials will all be present on the occasion,” Hari Om further added.

As far as the route is concerned, it will remain almost the same. In the first phase, from July 8 to 13, the Queen’s Baton Relay will reach Bareilly from Uttarakhand at 2.00 pm on July 8. Thereafter, it would pass through Shahjahanpur and Sitapur on June 9 before reaching Lucknow at 4.15 pm the same day. The Queen’s Baton will be given a warm welcome at Lucknow too. During its night stay at Lucknow, cultural programmes will be organised at CMS Kanpur Road. Folk artistes will be playing a major role in the programmes. It would be heading towards Rae Bareli on July 10. After that it will pass through Amethi and Allahabad before reaching Chunar (Mirzapur) on July 12 from where it will be heading towards Varanasi via a motor boat through the Ganges. In the second phase, from September 19 to 22, the Relay will cover Jhansi and Agra before proceeding towards New Delhi.

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