Guwahati, Jan. 4: Dispur today heaved a sigh of relief as the Centre issued the much-needed security clearance for the 33rd National Games, slated to be held from February 9 to 18.
The clearance came after Union home secretary V.K. Duggal held marathon security review meetings with Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and chief secretary P.C. Sarma along with the top brass of the police and home departments.
Pleased with the security blueprint prepared by Dispur for conducting the Games, Duggal expressed confidence that the Games would be “safe, smooth and successful”, coining what could probably become the catchwords for the publicity rejig the organisers of the Games have planned to allay fears spawned by the Ulfa threat.
The Games has come under Ulfa’s shadow, with the outfit demanding that the mega event be renamed the Asom Krira Mahotsav.
Duggal said he was happy with the steps taken by the Assam government, both on the infrastructure and law and order fronts, for successfully conducting the Games. “Whatever deficiencies are there, there is enough time” to redress them, Duggal pointed out.
Apart from the security arrangements in Guwahati, which is the main venue of the Games, Duggal also reviewed the arrangements made at Morigaon, where some watersports events will be held.
According to the security blueprint prepared by Dispur, a deputy superintendent of police will be posted at each of the 15 Games venues, while three anti-sabotage teams will be formed for carrying out regular inspections at the sites. An inspector-general of police (IGP) will be specifically posted to oversee the overall security scenario.
There will be no dearth of additional reinforcements of paramilitary forces necessary for successfully conducting the Games, even though Assembly elections are coming up in Manipur and Punjab, Duggal assured the Assam delegation.
“We will take every possible step to ensure that the Games pass off peacefully. I am sure the event will open a whole new window for Assam,” Duggal said, pointing out that the state’s pride was associated with it.
He, however, made it very clear that the army would not be called in to provide security cover for the Games, asserting that the additional reinforcements would be adequate for ensuring security.
Apart from the security arrangements that have been put in place, Duggal is also banking on the fact that it would be counterproductive for Ulfa to go in for any kind of misadventure during the Games.
“I hope the Ulfa threat is not serious. The entire community will be involved in the Games. It will be an occasion to rejoice and feel proud,” he added.
During his stopover at Guwahati on his way back to New Delhi from Manipur, Duggal also took stock of the measures taken to obtain the release of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) engineer who was abducted last month by suspected Ulfa militants from Udalguri. But he refused to divulge any details of the discussions.