On April 9, when radioactive material Cobalt 60 was found in a scrapyard at Mayapuri in west Delhi, the police were caught unawares.
It took them more than three days to realise that they were dealing with a material that could cause a major disaster.
In a bid to tackle such eventuality in a better way during the Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Police have bought 80 “radiation meters” that will help them identify any object with nuclear agents.
The Mayapuri incident had led to the death of one person and grievously injured six others. The policemen were lucky.
The police said their personnel posted at the Games venues and stadia were being trained to hand these meters.
“These meters weigh a little less than 1.5 kilograms. They are handy and will help our men to identify any nuclear agent hidden in any object. They will be used during the Games and even after that ” said Karnal Singh, joint commissioner of police (northern range).
The police said they bought these meters from a public sector undertaking.
“If someone tries to sneak in radioactive materials concealed in food boxes during the Commonwealth Games, we will be able to detect them immediately with the help of these meters,” said the officer.
Police said the equipment would come in handy during bomb blasts. “If radioactive substances are used in a bomb blast, these meters will help and necessary action can be taken immediately,” said the officer.
During the Mayapuri radiation scare, (the source was later traced to a Delhi University chemistry laboratory), the local police were like “sitting ducks.”
Until the officials of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and other disaster management authorities arrived, the policemen did not know what they were dealing with.
“The equipment will help us in avoiding any Mayapuri kind of incident,” said the officer.