The Commonwealth Games organisers are in a fix.
Officials are currently racking their brains to figure out how to re-carpet the grass at the main venue, the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium, right after the opening ceremony but in time for the practice sessions and the main athletic events.
Grass for the massive re-carpeting of the stadium is being grown at Hapur, UP, 65 km from Delhi. They will be transported in 70 container trucks.
But here’s the riddle.
Getting security clearance for these trucks is becoming a pain. The huge cargo scanner being developed by the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre to be installed near the Nizamuddin bridge to clear all containers used in the Games, cannot scan through soil.
While security agencies have put their foot down and want a scan, OC officials do not want to risk extensive manual scanning lest it damages the grass.
Bringing the 70 containers to the stadium is also turning into a problem because of cordons of VVIP security for the PM, the President, and Prince Charles who will be present at the opening ceremony.
Compounding the problem, these open top trucks which increases the chances of a security breach. All other containers used in the Games are box-type, easy to seal and secure.
“Now we don’t know how to get them to the stadium with a security clearance and finish it on time,” said a senior official of the OC on the condition of anonymity.
“Also, where is the space around JLN stadium? Time is too less as we cannot bring in the trucks earlier or else the grass might dry up or get damaged.”
Officials are thinking hard to come up with a solution.
The OC has requested Delhi police to escort the trucks all the way from Hapur to negate security concerns. But the latter refused citing jurisdiction issues.
Now the OC is in talks with the UP police to escort the trucks to the Delhi border from where Delhi police will take over. A lane on NH 24 has been reserved for the 70 trucks.
“We are procuring special permission for the movement of the grass. The whole exercise is a challenge. The trucks will have to move in after the opening ceremony,” said OC spokesman Lalit Bhanot.
Officials have just 48 hours to finish the re-carpeting, but they say with the present logistics, they stand to lose several hours lying idle.
Around 23 acres of the 100-acre stadium is a green cover. Carpeting that is a huge job.
“It takes a long time, which we don’t have. We also don’t know in what condition the stadium will be after the various programmes of the opening ceremony,” said the official.