Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Maoist shadow looms over national games

B Sridhar, TNN 9 September 2009, 07:47pm IST

JAMSHEDPUR: The National Games Organizing Committee (NGOC) has expressed deep concern over the Maoist dominance of National Highway (NH-33)
connecting Ranchi with Jamshedpur. The Games are slated to be held here from November 21 to December 5.

So, the NGOC executive body has requested the state government to take stern steps to check the Naxalite dominance on the highway, an important route for ferrying players between the two cities.

The NGOC security wing, headed by home secretary J B Tubid, has convened two rounds of meetings to discuss various security measures that will be enforced on the Bundu-Tamar stretch of NH-33.

"We are worried about the sudden spurt in violence on NH-33 and held a meeting with government officials to discuss the issue. In fact, the security wing of the organizing committee has held two rounds of preliminary meetings, where we shared some important points regarding security arrangements," said Madhukanth Pathak, the NGOC treasurer.

The national highway, especially the 70-km stretch between Bundu and Tamar falling between Ranchi and Seraikela-Kharswan districts, is prone to Maoist attacks. In the last 12 months, following the killing of JD(U) MLA Ramesh Singh Munda in Tamar, the area has virtually transformed into a Red zone.

"The home secretary is the chairman and DGP vice-chairman of our security wing. All information about security requirements has been forwarded to them," Pathak added.

Sources said all participants, including officials, will be ferried on Volvo buses to the Steel City from Ranchi and a dozen other buses will be pressed into service for the purpose. Besides, senior officials of the Indian Olympic Association and VIPs such as Union ministers, MPs and MLAs will be provided air service to move between the two cities.

Even though Ranchi will be hosting a large chunk of the 34 events, Jamshedpur will also host four important events, including women's football, archery, weightlifting and boxing. Dhanbad is the third venue for the proposed Games.

"The safety and security of every participant is our primary concern and we are going to take all possible steps to ensure the 35th national games culminate on a peaceful note," said Pathak.

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