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Free for all entry puts security at risk

A major security lapse could be round the corner with the ECIL machines refusing to validate the accreditation cards of thousands of Commonwealth Games volunteers, officials and media. Sharad Deep and Ajai Masand report HT Exclusive

delhi Updated: Oct 11, 2010 23:38 IST
Sharad Deep and Ajai Masand

A major security lapse could be round the corner with the ECIL machines refusing to validate the accreditation cards of thousands of Commonwealth Games volunteers, officials and media.

In the event, the security personnel posted at the various stadiums and Games Village, are allowing them to enter the sensitive areas after simply screening them, matching their photographs on the accreditation cards and identity cards.

It's a known fact that identity cards are not a foolproof way of checking the identity of a person, given that most of the disruptive elements use this modus operandi to create trouble. Not that the security is lapse at any of the venues, but the fact that they can physically harm athletes cannot be ruled out.

The Joint Commissioner of Police, Commonwealth Games, JK Sharma, told Hindustan Times that the Home Ministry was responsible for the ECIL mess. "We can't do anything about that, but, from our side, we are doing everything to ensure that no disruptive element enters the venues. We are seized of the matter and due procedures, like body searches, matching the photographs on the accreditation cards and checking their identity, are being followed.

There is no way anyone can enter with any arms into the venues," he said.

Sources told HT the Accreditation Functional Area (FA) of the Organising Committee had issued more than a lakh accreditation for the Games and over 85,000 had been done without police verification. Most of them are those whose data has not been updated in the ECIL machines, resulting in chaos.

When contacted, the concerned security officials informed that the ECIL was managing the centralised systems and there was some problem at their end. "The data is not getting updated, and hence, we cannot know who has a valid accreditation and who has been declined police verification.”

At the Karni Singh Shooting Range itself, after the scanning machines failed to read the bar code on the accreditation cards, many people were seen being allowed entry after showing their identity cards.

Not just that, a few hundred volunteers were, still entering the Games Village till Monday morning though their 'engagement period' had expired. "They are still entering the Village and having fun, as the records have not been updated. The OC had done away with the excess workforce a few days back," said the source,

On the flip side, the personnel include those in the cleaning and waste management teams, who have been given wrong access cards, which do not enable them to go into the various venues to carry out their jobs, are having a tough time. These are many instances where the drivers of T1 vehicles, ferrying athletes and officials, are being denied entry, as their accreditations do not meet the access privileges. Apart from that, paramedical teams, which come under the emergency medical staff, are also facing similar issues.

More than 200 sports specific volunteers, trained to assist the competition staff, are still running from pillar to post for getting their accreditations as their police verification records have been misplaced. The details of over 5000 people, including international broadcasters, have also been lost in the Accreditation FA, headed by joint director-general, RK Sacheti. He, however, declined to comment.