Australian Government warns travellers about Delhi commonwealth games venues

Australian federal government’s official travel advisory on flights to India is now warning tourists about potential problems with Commonwealth Games venues, following two construction incidents in the space of 48 hours. Ceiling panels from a weightlifting venue in New Delhi collapsed on yesterday, a day after an incomplete pedestrian bridge outside the main stadium also fell down.

Advice on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s smartraveller.gov.au website said there had been reports about construction “deficiencies” in some Games projects.

“Australians should be aware that building standards in India may not be comparable to those in Australia,” it read. Sport Minister Mark Arbib said today Indian authorities had given venue safety certification documents to the Commonwealth Games Federation. Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese had met with the nation’s cabinet secretary and heads of the Games organising committee to discuss the building quality concerns which extend to the athletes village, Senator Arbib added.

“The Indian authorities are, my understanding is, directing extra resources to ensure the village is completed as quickly as possible,” he said. Australian medics are on their way to India to assess the Commonwealth Games’ hygiene standards as well. “So we will have a better understanding of some of the medical issues and the hygiene issues after they arrive.”

Senator Arbib said a contingent of Australian Federal Police officers would attend the Games in a liaison capacity. However, security will be provided by the Indians, with about 100,000 local police expected to flood the city. Senator Arbib said even if the situation in Delhi continued to deteriorate, it was ultimately up to athletes to decide whether they wanted to compete or not. “The Australian Commonwealth Games Association and the teams will meet and have discussions about preparations and about competing,” he said. “But in the end, individuals have to make the decision for themselves.”

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