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PM takes charge of CWG
New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS):
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Published on 24 Sep. 2010 12:30 AM IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reviewed the preparations for the Commonwealth Games, especially completion of the works at the Games Village, at a high-level meeting here Thursday evening and asked the ministers concerned to fast-track the works, government sources said.
Besides Manmohan Singh, the two-hour meeting was attended by ministers S. Jaipal Reddy and M.S. Gill, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar.
However, CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi was not there at the meet, the sources said.
According to government sources, the prime minister directed the ministers to fast-track the preparations for the Oct 3-14 event. The Games Village will be ready by Friday, the ministers said at the meeting.
The meeting comes in the wake of complaints by several countries that the Village was “filthy and unliveable”. Scotland, Canada and Australia have delayed the departure of their contingents to India following reports of poor conditions at the Village.
The Commonwealth Games, to be attended by about 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories, will be the biggest sports event in India since the 1982 Asian Games.
Govt sets 24-hr deadline
Union home minister P Chidambaram chaired a security review meeting on the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Thursday and set strict deadlines for the Organising Committee to finish off all Games related work.
Conveying its unhappiness with the pace of preparations for the Games, the Home Ministry set a deadline of 24-hour to finish all works at the stadiums. The Ministry also set a deadline of 48 hours to finish works at Games Village.
Ministry officials said that security lockdown at stadiums would be done on Friday and no work would be allowed after the deadline. Security lockdown at Games Village will begin from September 25.
After the meeting Delhi Police Commissioner YS Dadwal claimed that all international athletes and delegations would get fool-proof security for the Commonwealth Games.
“I assure international athletes that there is fool-proof security for the Commonwealth Games. There is no doubt over it,” Dadwal said. He also denied that the firing incident outside Jama Masjid on Sunday in which two Taiwanese were injured would have any impact on the Games security.
The meeting was also attended by senior officials of home ministry, Delhi Joint Commissioner Karnail Singh, Intelligence Bureau chief and heads of paramilitary forces.
The meeting took place just hours after Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned of a high risk of terrorism in New Delhi.
“I do remind Australians that for a considerable period of time our travel advice in relation to India has asked Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in India, our travel advice has made clear that there is a high risk of terrorism in New Delhi and our travel advice has made clear that since 2000 there have been at least 14 major terrorist attacks in New Delhi. Now this travel advisory reflects our best assessment of the safety and security issues in India and will of course continue to monitor the security environment in India very closely. And while security in India is ultimately a matter for the Indian government we have also boosted the number of officials we have in New Delhi and we have others on stand-by,” said Julia.
More than one lakh security personnel would be seen in action during the Games including about 175 companies (17,500 personnel) of paramilitary forces, 3,000 commandos, 100 anti-sabotage teams, 200 dogs and 15 bomb disposal squads.
Besides, about 150 personnel of the Delhi Police’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team have been trained by the IAF and the NSG to shoot down suspicious manned and unmanned “flying objects”.
Teams ready to come
With the opening of the Commonwealth Games only days away, several of the teams due to compete at the event said they intend to travel to New Delhi despite concerns about the living conditions at the athletes’ village. The Wales team said on Thursday it has been assured by the local organizing committee that the village and all venues are ready for the October 3-14 games. The athletes’ village opened on Thursday, but on Tuesday it was labeled “unsafe and unfit for human habitation” after excrement was found in some rooms.
“We are confident in the assurances that have been provided,” the Wales team said in a statement.
Scotland, which decided on Wednesday to delay its departure to India because of the problems, also said that things have improved in New Delhi.
“We have continued to make progress addressing the maintenance and operational issues within our own accommodation block and things are looking much better,” Team Scotland representative Jon Doig said.
Canada and New Zealand have also said they would delay their departures, but South Africa said it planning to leave for India as scheduled.
New Zealand Olympic Committee President Mike Stanley said that the travel changes would put a strain on the country’s athletes. The Australian government said it was sending experts to assess hygienic conditions in the village and has upgraded its travel advice to alert tourists to possible construction “deficiencies.’

 
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