New Delhi: Thousands of armed security personnel were on their toes on Sunday securing the capital for the Commonwealth Games as helicopters patrolled the skies and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles scanned the ground.
A virtual security fortress ahead of the opening of the sporting event, Delhi was full of snipers, commandos on ‘Light Armoured Troops Carrier’ (LATC) and specially trained men from paramilitary personnel along with Delhi Police personnel.
Round the clock, personnel at the sophisticated C4i control room at the Police Headquarters here rummaged through live feeds from over 3,000 CCTVs installed across the city ensuring that nothing escaped their eyes.
A “multi-layered, multi-dimensional” security blanket, as City Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal put it, was thrown around the city with police vans surveying the nook and corner of the capital.
The security plan prepared for the mega event, which will see participation of 8,500 athletes from 71 countries competing in 17 events, also envisages expert groups to tackle chemical, biological, radio-active or nuclear attacks.
Armed personnel have also been deployed across 41 Games related infrastructure, including 12 competition venues, while heliborne-snipers of the Air Force provided air cover to thwart any terror attack like the 9/11 strikes in the US.
“This is a security arrangement which has been laid down after considerable thought, re-thought, examination and re-examination looking for loopholes. It is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional arrangement,” Dadwal said.
“We have a higher security matrix for the Games compared to other events held in the city,” he said noting that there were no specific inputs about any terrorist attack on the Games but the police were keeping a strict vigil.
Delhi Police’s 28,387 personnel have been deployed at Games venues along with 195 companies (around 20,000 men) of paramilitary personnel while another 15,000 guarded the nearby localities of the venues.
Police has already announced that security restrictions is applied to each and every visitor and no one can expect any relaxation or exception citing the example of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram undergoing security checks.
A four-layered security cordon has been drawn for various venues spread across the city. Only those with accreditation cards and tickets will be allowed inside stadias.
A number of vehicles without security paraphernalia have also been spread out across the capital with armed policemen in plain clothes to keep a vigil, a senior police official said.
“In certain places, we want our presence not to be noticed. So vehicles without any police sticker have been spreadout with armed men in plain clothes,” the official said.
At Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue for the Games, security establishment has erected around 90 gates for entry to minimise the inconvenience caused to ticket holders.
“Around 7,000 personnel have been deployed there,” the official said.
At the outer cordon of every venues, the traffic will be stopped and access controlled.
At the middle cordon, security-men will channelise the spectators to their designated seats while in the inner cordon, the barcode reading of tickets will take place and the spectators’ photos captured.
At the centre would be an exclusion zone which is in the 30 metre radius of the stadium, where spectators and others will have to go through Door-Frame Metal Detectors and X-Ray scanning besides manual searching.
Mobile Quick Reaction teams will be deployed on the outer perimeter of the venues besides a close watch through CCTV surveillance.
The Games village also have a similar elaborate security arrangement. The boundary of the village will have a three metre high perimeter wall, a 1.5 metre high iron grill on top of it, mobile QRTs and CCTV surveillance system.
Elaborate arrangements are also made for the entry for athletes and vehicles into the village. After entering the village following a thorough check, the athletes can freely move around the residential and dining halls.
For vehicles, the drivers will have to pass through radio frequency identity checking where the number plates are checked to see whether are authorised to enter the place.
There is a boom barrier and it will be opened only after the vehicle clears the radio frequency checking. But if somebody tries to forcefully enter, there will be a tyre- killer and even if the vehicle clears it, the road blocker will block the passage of the vehicle.
At the hotels, there will be “robust” security arrangements with watch towers, CCTV surveillance and access control. “All food prepared and served for Games guests in hotels will be sorted by security personnel and tasted by food experts,” the official said.
With large number of athletes, officials and tourists reaching the city for the Games, security at and around the Indira Gandhi International Airport has also been augmented.