Sunday, June 21, 2009

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's sports ministry has raised fresh concerns over the progress of preparations for next year's Commonwealth Games, drawing attention to various delays in construction projects for the Oct. 3-14 event.

"We're more concerned and more worried because there is a huge job to be done," Manohar Singh Gill told a conference on how to present the national capital as a global city for the Games.

The government and organisers have admitted construction delays as they race against time to complete infrastructure with a little more than a year remaining before the Games begin.

The delays forced the world badminton championships in August to be moved to Hyderabad and the Commonwealth Games Federation CEO has stationed a senior official in New Delhi until the event begins to supervise preparations.

Authorities also plan to throw a massive security ring around the Games due to concerns following a series of bomb blasts in major Indian cities last year, and a three-day siege in Mumbai in November by militants, killing 166 people.

Games organisers have said security would on a par with last year's Beijing Olympics.

Gill also said the migration of people to Delhi also posed a big challenge.

"Massive infrastructure is being built in the city," he said. "Delhi is a great city, has a lot of potential to develop, but it is surrounded by less developed areas. As a result there is migration to Delhi.

"How can a city like Delhi cope with migration of such mind-boggling number of people? We have to stabilise the population of Delhi's adjoining areas."

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