Dedicated buses, 24X7 monitoring of transport for Games athletes
By Mayank Aggarwal
New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS)
Dedicated buses, GPS-based vehicles, CCTVs...Organisers of the Commonwealth Games in the Indian capital are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a smooth and secure ride for international athletes, support staff and the media.
Right from the time they land here to the time they fly back, elaborate plans have been drawn up by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC) to take care of athletes during the Oct 3-14 event.
The CGOC is leaving nothing to chance after reports from private security experts scared sportspersons from Australia, England and New Zealand, saying they would be going to India at their own risk.
Jiji Thomson, the Kerala cadre IAS officer who holds a pivotal position in the CGOC, said things have more or less fallen in place and the security agencies have an impeccable blueprint to protect athletes and officials as they move around the city.
"Keeping in mind all the concerns, everything has been planned to the minutest possible detail. After the athletes arrive at the recently renovated Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), they would be taken to the Games Village near the Akshardham temple in east Delhi through air-conditioned low-floor CNG buses," Thomson told IANS in an interview.
The security agencies, CGOC and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) would be working in close coordination at the airport and there would be a dedicated parking area for the Games vehicles at IGIA to avoid traffic glitches.
"Every bus carrying athletes would be accompanied by a well-equipped security vehicle to ensure its safety. There would be dedicated traffic lanes for the Games vehicles," Thomson said.
A transport hub is coming up near the Millennium Park for the Games vehicles and a transport mall at the Village.
"There will be a 24X7 control room manned by traffic police, DTC officials and CGOC volunteers and they will supervise all transport operations through GPS (Global Positioning System)-based vehicle tracking system. And there will also be CCTVs to aid security," he added.
There will also be dedicated buses to carry athletes and team officials to different competition and training venues and back to the Village. Their designated primary routes and secondary routes in emergency have already been identified.
"On the day of the opening and closing ceremonies, nearly 7,500 athletes and support staff would have to be transported to the Jawahalal Nehru Stadium within two to three hours. It will be a gigantic effort and it will be done without a hassle," Thomson told IANS.
Then there are plans to make over 100,000 expected tourists to the Games feel comfortable.
Over 500 buses would be pressed into service to cater to an estimated 7,500 athletes and their support staff, 1,250 technical officials and 3,000 mediapersons and broadcasters. They will all use dedicated buses.
For mediapersons, a shuttle bus service would be available from their hotels to the various venues and to the main Press Centre and the International Broadcasting Centre at Pragati Maidan.
CGOC has also earmarked hundreds of limousines, sedans, SUVs and other swanky vehicles for the Games VIPs who include senior officials of the Commonwealth Games Federation and the CGOC.
"These cars will probably be sponsored by the automobile manufacturers and we are in discussions with them," Thomson said.
The CGOC has also devised a 'Vehicle Access and Parking Permit Scheme' (VAPPS) to control all vehicle access and parking entitlement during the Commonwealth Games.
"At the end of it all, the arrangements will be to everyone's satisfaction and nothing will go wrong for want of effort," said a confident Thomson.
Shooters have already dispelled the fears, describing the security cover provided to them in two words - "best ever"! The shooters at the Commonwealth championship are impressed with the impregnable four-layer security ring the athletes will have at all the venues during the Games, starting with an outer level, then middle, then inner and finally the exclusive.
II. Australian, English shooters knock off security fears
New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS)
The Australian, English and New Zealand shooters here for the Commonwealth Shooting Championship have sent out a strong message to their governments that they are extremely happy with the security cover provided to them. The Dr.Karni Singh Shooting Range was like a fortress what with over a thousand security men keeping it out of bounds for general public and 200 CCTV cameras prying on every visitor and vehicle entering.
Commonwealth Shooting Federation (CGF) president Graeme Hudson, a New
Zealander, said the championships will be a good test for the security as
well as the technical conduct of the event.
"Being an outsider, I can assure all the overseas teams that there is no
reason to worry. The government has taken care of security and this is the
best any country can offer. It will also be a good test for the security
officials before other major events like the hockey World Cup and the
Commonwealth Games in October," Hudson told IANS.
The 34-member England team looked relaxed on the opening day of the
championships while the Australians enjoyed the picturesque shooting
"We are extremely happy with the security cover provided to us and all our
apprehensions were allayed. After coming ehre we realised that there is a
world of difference between the scary media reports and the real picture
here," England shooter James Sole said.
Chief executive of Australia International Shooting Limited Nick Sullivan
said that before coming to India they had done their usual security checks
and felt there was no need for panic.
"We do our security checks for every tournament, be it in India, Barcelona
or Berlin. In India, we are extremely safe with the security cover
provided to us," said Sullivan.
III. Australia satisfied with sports security in India
New Delhi, March 2 (IANS)
Australia Tuesday said it was "satisfied" with Indian security arrangements for sporting events, including the ongoing Hockey World Cup tournament, the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting March 12 and the Commonwealth Games to be held here in October.
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, who is on a three-day trip to
India, inspected the main stadium for the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games,
which has been the target of threats by some militant groups.
"Australia is very pleased with the cooperation and coordination about
security in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games," Smith told reporters
after being shown around the progress of work at the Jawaharlal Nehru
Stadium, the main venue of the Commonwealth Games, in the capital.
"Of course, we have been very pleased with security arrangements both for
the Hockey World Cup and also recently for the Commonwealth Federation
shooting competition," Smith added.
Briefing reporters on Smith's visit, external affairs ministry
spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said that Australia and India have been in
close touch over the security for the games.
"Australian Hockey team is here. Australian players will be participating
in the IPL matches and Australia has expressed satisfaction at the
security arrangements," he said.
In a sign of confidence in Indian security for sporting events, Smith
joined Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Tuesday night to
watch Australia and India play a Hockey World Cup game that the two sides
have designated "Friendship Match".
The security for the Commonwealth Games will be among key issues for
discussions between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Smith here
Wednesday. The talks are expected to be dominated by the safety and
security of Indian students in Australia in the wake of attacks that
started in May last year.
IV. 1,000 solar rickshaws to ferry Commonwealth Games athletes:
By Prashant K. Nanda
New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS)
At least 1,000 solar rickshaws will be deployed
to ferry over 7,000 athletes and their delegates during the Commonwealth
Games later this year.
A joint project between Delhi government and the central government-run
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), these zero carbon
vehicles will help players commute inside the Games villages and reach
sporting venues from Metro stations.
"Its a unique initiative, where both innovation and concern for
environment will be on display," Rajesh Kumar, a senior scientist at CSIR,
"We hope the initiative will be a huge hit among athletes from across the
globe. The fleet of 1,000 solar rickshaws will reduce the carbon foot
print and provide hassle free travel to our guest sportsmen," said Kumar,
who has been coordinating with the city government.
These rickshaws are the greenest transport vehicles and help the cause of
Green Games as promised by the Delhi government. These are optimally
designed, pedal operated, motor assisted green pedicabs which draw their
power from overhead solar panels.
Over 7,000 players and delegates from over 70 countries will reach Delhi
to be a part of the Commonwealth Games Oct 3-14 in the national capital.
These vehicles were developed by CSIR's Central Mechanical Engineering
Research Institute based in Durgapur.
Kumar said he and his team are working hard to popularise the vehicle and
set to hold a rally in its favour. "We are going to hold a rally of at
least 50 solar rickshaws in Delhi to create awareness among people about
the vehicle that reduces human drudgery and improves environment."
V. From homemakers to corporates, thousands volunteer for Games:
By Azera Rahman
New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS)
There is a buzz around the imposing Commonwealth
Games Organising Committee Headquarters near Connaught Place these days as
scores of excited students, professionals, homemakers, ex-servicemen,
teachers and people from the corporate world flock to it to join as
volunteers for the Oct 3-14 Games.
The aspiring volunteers, both boys and girls, await their turn for a
one-on-one interview for being part of the 30,000 needed for the Games,
though the number of applicants is several times that number.
Sudhir Mital, the special director general looking after the Rs.180
million (Rs.18 crore) image-building volunteers programme Delhi United,
said the response was so overwhelming that receiving applications online
had to be discontinued for a while.
"To make the programme socially inclusive, we have categorised applicants
under different heads. For 5,000 volunteers in the general category, our
portal has received a whopping 29,000 applications, forcing us to
discontinue the service," Mital told IANS.
It is amazing to find the kind of people who want to be associated with
the Games in some form or other -- from specialist volunteers to
generalist. They know that a tourist will carry home the cheerful, helpful
image of a volunteer and that's exactly what they want.
"We have a number of applicants from top corporate houses. They are
willing to take off from their work to join the Games," Mital said.
The rest of the 25,000 volunteers will be recruited from the tourism
ministry, Delhi University, National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service
Scheme (NSS), and sports and physical training institutes. The vetting and
selection process will go on till April end.
"The volunteers will be the most visible face of the Games. From the
moment a visitor lands at the airport and till the time he leaves the
national capital, he will be interacting with volunteers the most.
Therefore, the volunteers programme is a key component in the Games
framework," Mital said.
"There are three things that we are looking for in the volunteers --
commitment, communicative skills and availability of time. A volunteer
should be able to give at least 10 days for the event," he added.
A volunteers' job is not just escorting guests; there are as many as 120
specific roles with specific skills like handling accommodation,
accreditation, protocol, medical support, press operations, compiling
results and working on ambulances.
"We have special management software that categorises volunteers into
specific roles, going by the skills they have mentioned in their
application forms. Whether a candidate fits the bill or not for a specific
role is decided at the interview," Mital told IANS.
Rukhsana Bee, a student of Sri Venkateswara College, said: "I am doing my
B.Sc. in life sciences, and also doing a 21-day course in hospitality
management. So I am most probably going to be slotted in the hospitality
"I am quite satisfied with my interview. The questions were simple and
predictable, like what do I know about the Games and why I want to be a
volunteer. I had done my homework, and my answer was that I want to be
part of this show and that the experience will add to my CV," Bee told
Similarly, Rajesh Jain, a physical fitness trainer, said: "I want to be
part of the sports administration team. I train in a physical fitness
training institute, but during the Games I will take leave to be part of
the great spectacle."
Mital said a special training academy will impart training for the
"The training will begin in April at the venues provided by Delhi
University. First, there will be a general training and then role-specific
training," he said.
"To motivate the volunteers, we will also give awards and recognition to
those who show exemplary performance," Mital said.
VI. A way to de-stress for Commonwealth Games volunteers:
By Azera Rahman
New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) As pressure mounts on volunteers for the
approaching Commonwealth Games in the capital, they may find the perfect
way to stay high on enthusiasm and physical fitness with an Art of Living
The mega event, which will take place in Delhi from Oct 3 to 14, aims to
recruit 30,000 volunteers from a cross-section of people - from students
and homemakers to ex-servicemen and corporate honchos.
Sudhir Mital, the special director general looking after the volunteers
programme, said: "The Art of Living Foundation has expressed an interest
in providing a three-day course on stress management to the Commonwealth
"The course, which is otherwise a week long, will be specially formulated
to suit our needs. According to the proposal, it will be divided into a
four-hour capsule for three days. We are in the process of finalising it,"
Mital told IANS.
Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's organisation, the Art of Living
Foundation, teaches meditation and yoga with a basic aim of de-stressing.
The foundation has a large following across the globe and has a presence
in 151 countries.
Darshak Hathi, international director of Art of Living, said the
foundation will also offer members of their youth wing for the volunteers
"We are hoping to give 1,000 volunteers from our youth wing for the
volunteers programme for the Games. Members of our youth wing are in the
age group of 25-35 and are a dedicated lot. Most of them are also from a
sports background; therefore it's an added advantage," Hathi told IANS.
According to Hathi, besides helping the volunteers de-stress, the course
will also motivate them to take on challenging tasks.
"Along with technical skills, it's important that the volunteers are
taught stress management and coping skills. They also need to be motivated
to take up challenging tasks. Therefore, we have proposed to impart them
the required skills. The same will be provided to the staff," he said.
Since the number of volunteers will be huge, Hathi said the group will be
divided into batches of 2,000 who will be trained by 25 trainers of the
Preeja Jain, a teacher who has applied for the volunteering programme and
also takes the Art of Living course, said: "If the Art of Living
Foundation is planning to train the volunteers, then there could be no
"It's very important to have a positive outlook, be physically fit and
have enthusiasm to do a task properly and these courses will help in doing
VII. Purple cabbage, seedless cucumber on Games platter
By Prashant K. Nanda
New Delhi, March 4 (IANS)
A world-class infrastructure and fool-proof security are not the only things in offing during the Commonwealth Games. The organisers are also fixing up delightful menus prepared with select ingredients ranging from purple cabbage and seedless cucumber to multi-coloured pepper.
Leading agricultural scientists in Delhi are currently working on a number
of vegetables, which are not only safe and pesticide-free but also fancy
and colourful. These vegetables will be served to over 7,000 athletes,
delegates from over 70 countries and other tourists who will be here for
the mega sporting event Oct 3-14.
"We are getting ready for the Commonwealth Games. They will get safe and
colourful vegetables to eat," Baljit Singh, a principal scientist with the
Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) here, told IANS Thursday.
"It is our job to provide them good food. We know October is an off season
but we will cultivate vegetables in protected environments," he said.
"Vegetables like purple cabbage, special broccoli, multi-coloured peppers,
cherry tomato with at least seven percent sweetness, French radish and
seedless cucumber are some of our focus areas now.
"We have cultivated them under protected environment and are now training
farmers, living in 80-km radius of the national capital, to grow these
vegetables," said Singh, who is the head of the Centre for Protected
Cultivation Technology at IARI.
He said several farmers in and around Delhi are interested in cultivating
For example, farmers in Najafgarh are likely to cultivate pesticide-free
cauliflowers while those in Alipur will produce seedless cucumber. Special
sweet corns are likely to be sourced from Sonepat in Haryana. Several
farmers in Bilaspur region of Himachal Pradesh are likely to provide red,
yellow and green pepper.
The scientist explained that protected cultivation meant that all these
vegetables would be grown in "greenhouses under a controlled environment".
Water, fertiliser and temperature will be controlled.
VIII. Commonwealth Games baton is 'Soul of India':
By Paras Ramoutar
Port-of-Spain, Feb 26 (IANS)
The 2010 Commonwealth Games baton now
circulating throughout Trinidad and Tobago has been described as the "soul
of India" by Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra here. The baton for the
Oct 3-14 Games in New Delhi will later tour other Caribbean countries who
are members of the Commonwealth.
The envoy assured the media and the people of Trinidad and Tobago that
"all facilities and other areas of the Games will be ready for the October
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the 71 countries the baton will pass through
in its 240-day trek before arriving in India July 1.
The Trinidad and Tobago contingent to the Games will have 150 members,
Larry Romany, president of its Olympic Committee and Commonwealth
Association, said. Hockey Board Public Relations Officer Arnold Knott will
be chef de mission for the 2010 Games. "We expect to put forward a very
good performance when we get to Delhi," he said.
John Hoskins, vice-president, Commonwealth Games Federation, said that the
baton for this Games is much more elaborate than the last one. It includes
a video camera, audio recorder, LED lighting systems which can be changed
to suit colours of the flag of the country it is in, and can also receive
SMS text message. The 1.9-kg, 66.4 cm baton also contains a GPS facility.
Special arrangements are being made for sports enthusiasts here to visit
India for the Games.
This country's population is made of 44 percent of people of Indian origin
whose forefathers came from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar between 1845 and 1917
to work on the sugar plantations.
Karni Singh Shooting range gets the thumbs-up from shooters
New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) The renovated Karni Singh Shooting Range has got
the thumbs up from all the shooters taking part in the ongoing
Commonwealth Shooting Championship.
All national and international shooters taking part in the event rated the
range as "world class".
"The Championship was a very good preparation for the forthcoming
Commonwealth Games. These ranges are at par with any other international
range. International shooters who are participating in the championship
are equally impressed with the world class facilities here," said pistol
shooter Samresh Jung, who was adjudged the best shooter in the 2006
Martin Mace, Northern Ireland's team manager, was impressed with the
facilities at the range.
"I would like to take it home. This is the second time I have come here
since 1995. Security can sometimes be used as an excuse by governments of
participating countries to not compete. However, I am completely satisfied
with the security arrangements in place," he said.
Ratna Sharmin Akhter from Bangladesh was satisfied with the facilities and
infrastructure at the renovated shooting range.