Saturday, May 1, 2010

No power shortage for Games, assures govt

Dismissing concerns that mega upcoming power projects in Delhi could miss the Commonwealth Games deadline after a series of delays, the government has claimed that the Aravali project and Dadri’s second unit would start supplying power to the capital by October when the sporting event takes place.

Three units of the Bawana power station with a generation capacity of 750 MW are also expected to be commissioned by September this year while another 500 MW plant in Jhajjar power station will be completed by October, just in time for the Games.

However, the other three units of the Bawana plant will be commissioned by March next year only along with a 250MW plant at Jhajjar. This may aggravate power shortage in the capital in the peak summer months from April to June. With Delhi likely to see a peak demand of 4800MW this year, the government was banking heavily on these projects.

But before the Games, the government claims, Delhi will have additional power. ‘‘The demand in October will be moderate. Moreover, the Centre has blocked its unallocated power for the Capital during that period. Delhi will have more than sufficient power available. All stadiums where the events take place also have up to two to three back-ups,’’ said an official.

Like all Games projects, the power plants too have been delayed. According to officials, the first unit of the Bawana plant that should have been completed by March-end, would now be commissioned only by July. The 1,500 MW Jhajjar plant from where Delhi is to get 750 MW will be ready only after July. Similarly, the second unit of Dadri Phase-II would be ready by July-end. The 108MW NDPL power plant will now be completed in July.

US, UK, Australia warn of terror attacks in Delhi

The US, the UK and Australia today said “imminent” terror attacks in New Delhi were possible, particularly in markets like Connaught Place, Greater Kailash and Chandni Chowk, which were “attractive targets” for terrorist groups.

A message from the warden on the US Embassy website says: “There are increased indications that terrorists are planning imminent attacks in New Delhi. Terrorists have targeted places in the past that US citizens or westerners are known to visit.”

“Markets, such as those located in Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Mehrauli and Sarojini Nagar can be attractive targets for terrorist groups. If you are in an area where unattended packages are spotted, you should immediately exit the area and report the packages to authorities,” the report added.

The US had come up with a similar message last week. But the latest message has the word “imminent” added to it.

The warnings come as India has been battling to assure the world it can serve as a safe host for the Commonwealth Games. Sporting events in India have in the past suffered due to security concerns. In 2009, the UK team landed in India for the world badminton championships but returned without touching Hyderabad, the venue of the event.

Around 8,000 athletes are expected to attend the Commonwealth Games. India has promised to provide “foolproof” security for athletes and spectators during the Games. The London-based Commonwealth Games Federation has said security for the Indian event is subject to “continual review.”

In its advisory, the UK said, “At this time, there are increased indications that terrorists are planning attacks in New Delhi.”

“You should be particularly conscious of security considerations in the vicinity of key government installations and tourist sites,” said the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Australian advisory said, “Reliable reporting indicates that terrorists may be planning to attack markets in New Delhi, including those frequented by foreigners. Such attacks could occur any time from April 22.”

“Specific and credible information indicates terrorist attacks in New Delhi, especially in markets, may be imminent,” said the Australian advisory.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has issued a statement saying it is aware of the advisory issued by the Embassy of the United States of America. “We appeal to the public to be vigilant and fully cooperate with the Delhi Police. We are taking appropriate measures”, said police spokesman Rajan Bhagat.

Wiggins to skip World championship for Commonwealth Games

England's triple Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins has said he will skip the road World Championships in Melbourne, Australia to concentrate on the Commonwealth Games to be held from October 3-14 here.

"I'm still doing the Commonwealth time trial but I'm not doing the Worlds. You'd have to go out (to Australia) a good chunk (of time) in advance and I just don't fancy it," the five-time World Champion Wiggins was quoted as saying in an interview to Cycling

The 30-year-old Wiggins, who suffered a bike failure while on course for a world championship medal last year, has won three silver medals in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and 2002.

Meanwhile, according to other reports in the British media, British Cycling officials are confident star names such as Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, gold medallists for Scotland and England in Melbourne four years ago, will be free to compete in Delhi despite some scheduling issues.

Malaria screening at all Games sites

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is collecting blood samples of labourers working at Commonwealth Games sites to screen them for malaria.

‘‘We have collected blood samples of over 23,000 labourers who are being brought in from states where Malaria is highly prevalent. The construction site is already a good breeding ground for mosquitoes and there is a possibility of the disease spreading,’’ said an MCD health officer.

MCD officials said that all labourers has to give a blood sample at the Malaria surveillance post clinic set up at the Games village near Akshar Dham temple before being allowed to join work.

‘‘They have to give their address and blood sample before joining work so that we can screen them for presence of any Malaria parasite. The test results are provided within 24 hours and if anyone tests positive for the disease, he/she is barred from working’’ he said.

Screening of labourers for Malaria was initiated in 2008. Two labourers till date have
tested positive. The inspectors have collected nearly 30,000 blood samples in the past two years.

Though the construction work is nearing completion, officials said that the clinic will continue till the Games is over. The Commonwealth Games are scheduled here between October 3-14.

No beef on menu at Commonwealth Games: organisers

Laying all controversy to rest, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee has clarified that beef will not be served during the Games scheduled to take place in the national capital later this year.

The organising committee replied an emphatic "no" to a query by Right to Information (RTI) activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, who wanted to know if beef was a compulsory item to be served during the Games, scheduled Oct 3-14.

"Commonwealth Games Federation's requirement from the organising committee is to provide to a quality 24 hour catering service offering nutritious meals and snacks to the athletes and their team officials during Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 taking into consideration, cultural and dietary requirements and the need for variety and rotation of menus. The organising committee is duty bound to carry this out," the committee replied.

The issue had first arisen some months ago when former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh wrote to the organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi asking him to keep beef out of the menu during the Games.

The BJP-led Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had also warned and passed a resolution against serving beef during the event. Recently, the Delhi government had also clarified that beef will not be served during the Games.

'Gita Govinda' to be part of Commonwealth Games ceremony

Terming 'Gita Govinda' as one of the "biggest epic stories ever written in the country", Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said poet Jayadev's creation would be part of the ceremonies of the coming Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"Gita Govinda, created by legendary poet Jayadev of Orissa on relationship of Lord Krishna with Radha and other gopis, in the 12th century, would be given due place at the international sports event, she said while attending a function here last evening.

Lauding Orissa's contribution in the field of literature, sculpture and arts, Dikshit placed poet Jayadev at par with Sanskrit scholars like Kalidas.

Though 'Gita Govinda' was a classic, many people in India do not know about it, the Delhi chief minister pointed out asking all concerned to popularise the 'epic' inside the country and abroad.

"One of the prominent portion of Gita Govinda would be placed before the international audience during Commonwealth Games at New Delhi to be held in October," she said.

back to top