New Delhi, Oct 3 (PTI) An almost impregnable security blanket of about 7,500 security personnel, including commandos and helicopters, have been thrown over the grand Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, where the opening ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games will be held today.
As one enters the stadium, the only thing visible are the gun-toting security personnel including many in battle fatigues standing besides banners with Games motto 'Come out and Play' written on them.
Numerous check points have been set up along the route with vehicles being strictly kept off from the vicinity of the stadium with 60,000 spectators including Prince Charles, President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and foreign diplomats among other VIPs.
Every residential building around the stadium has a sniper atop it keeping an eye out for any possible trouble.
Though security agency sources say that there is no specific security threat to the Games, nobody wants to take any chance.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram also visited the stadium to take stock of the situation.
Asked if he was satisfied with the security arrangements, a smiling Chidambaram told PTI, "Ask me on October 14 and I will tell you."
Army has also been kept on standby. While Delhi Police and CRPF personnel are present at very nook and corner inside the stadium campus, NSG commandos have also been pressed into action.
As a further step to thwart any possible aerial attack, the Delhi airspace would also be restricted during the period of the opening ceremony.
Indian Army helicopters with commandos in them were seen doing an aerial recce at regular intervals.
The helicopters will receive additional support from the three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) which will also be pressed into service to carry out surveillance and keep vigil.
Moreover, sources said about 150 personnel of the Delhi Police's Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) have been trained by the Indian Air Force and the NSG to shoot down suspicious manned or unmanned "flying objects".
Specially trained canines held firmly by their handlers can be seen roaming around sniffing for anything suspicious. MORE PTI
Even at a conservative estimate, about 5,000 security personnel can be seen within and around the stadium. Not to forget the hundreds along the roads leading to the stadium.
Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal was present at the stadium to supervise the security arrangements ahead of the opening ceremony. He had earlier said that all adequate arrangements have been made for the event.
A four-layer security cordon was thrown around the stadium which has 19 entry points where card readers, Door Frame Metal Detectors and X-Ray baggage machines have been installed.
Mobile Quick Reaction teams were deployed on the outer perimeter of the venues while a close watch was being kept through CCTV surveillance. At the outer cordon of the stadium, traffic was stopped and access controlled.
At the middle cordon, security-men channelised the spectators to their designated seats while in the inner cordon, the barcode reading of tickets took place and the spectators' photos captured.
At the centre was the exclusion zone which is in the 30 metre radius of the stadium, where spectators and guests underwent a check through Door-Frame Metal Detectors and X-Ray scanning besides manual searching.
Only those with valid parking stickers were allowed near the stadium while the three park and ride facilities near the stadium were at its seam within minutes leaving many to look for alternative sites.
At some occasions, the card readers did not function properly due to some technical glitches. The Home Ministry in its guidelines had said that the flap barrier to control pedestrian movement and RF reader to read cards and tickets may fail sometimes, for a few minutes, owing to glitches.
A long queue was also witnessed outside the stadium. PTI