Gifts to counter ULFA threat
National Games players will be given shopping discounts and gifts by the Assam Govt, reports Rahul Karmakar.india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 15:56 IST
The Assam government on Wednesday formally appealed to the ULFA to withdraw its call for boycott of the 33rd National Games, scheduled from February 9-18.
But if the outlawed outfit does not respond, it has a contingency plan to ensure the Games go off smoothly.
It plans to take the minds of sportspersons and officials off the threat with fabulous gifts, shopping discounts and guarantees of heavy-duty security.
With sports associations airing security concerns, the state government was forced to think of ideas to ensure total participation and shatter the threat perception.
"This does not mean we are building fortresses for the 12,000 players and officials who are expected to turn up, but we can promise no one will come to any harm," said Pradyut Bordoloi, Power Minister and chairman of the Games’ media committee.
According to Bordoloi, ensuring that the National Games goes off without a hitch is now a prestige issue for Assam’s civil society. "All possible steps have been taken to face any challenge," he said, adding that various citizens’ bodies have come forward to shield Games participants from possible physical harm.
The minister said the gift packages and shopping rebates are being worked out with leading commercial establishments and chambers of commerce.
"On arrival, each participant will get a bagful of gifts that will include specially packaged tea, handicraft products and a brass model of a one-horned rhino, the state animal," he said.
A rhino named Rongmon, incidentally, is the 33rd National Games mascot. Besides, any person sporting the badge of accreditation of the National Games Secretariat will, during the Games period, get discounts at shopping centres, handicraft outlets and curio shops.
Meanwhile, officials said that over 95 per cent of the work at the sports venues was complete. While the main athletics stadium at Tepesia is ready, the others will be ready by December 31. Sports Commissioner VS Bhaskar said the IOA had certified the games infrastructure as one of the best in the country.