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Security wall crashes before beauty concerns

India had planned to surround the Commonwealth Games venues with a high thick wall — one foot higher than the world’s tallest man — to prevent terrorists from gate-crashing the venues, reports Aloke Tikku.

delhi Updated: Sep 25, 2009 02:47 IST
Aloke Tikku

India had planned to surround the Commonwealth Games venues with a high thick wall — one foot higher than the world’s tallest man — to prevent terrorists from gate-crashing the venues.

But plans to build the nine-feet high “impregnable wall” have come crumbling down.

India may now go for a wire-mesh fence, electrified at the top to prevent miscreants from crossing over.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) for the Commonwealth Games has shot down the plan to build the boundary wall, saying it would make the venue look like fortresses.

Sports Minister MS Gill was the first to object at the GoM, convinced that the wall required by the police “would not only spoil the aesthetics of the venues but also give a fortress-like impression”.

But anxious that the alternative did not leave a gaping hole in the multi-layered security ring planned by the security agencies, the GoM asked a committee of secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar to study the alternatives.

“Given the kind of a security environment that we live in and the risks involved, the alternative had to be as secure as the wall that experts at the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police had originally come up with,” said a senior government official who was unwilling to be quoted.

The panel of bureaucrats promptly looked around for security arrangements at other international sporting events for inspiration.

The committee of secretaries has recommended the model being used for the London Games — a mix of a wire-mesh fence with a power topping section on top.

“Luckily, London had finalised its security plan for the 2012 Olympics and even built the fence around the construction site,” said an official, pointing that they were still working on the plan.

“We are analysing the fencing model for the moment from the security point of view. In any case, if there are problems in implementing this model, it would not take much time to build a wall even at the last moment,” he said.