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Mock drill conducted

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Even as civic bodies were sprucing up the area in and around the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium on Friday for Sunday's India-Pakistan one-day international cricket match, the first mock drill was carried out for emergency evacuation at the nearby Ambedkar Stadium.

The ODI is to be watched by the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, and the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

Security agencies and fire service personnel took part in the drill. A military helicopter made two landings inside the stadium. Around 12.30 p.m. an Army helicopter made an aerial inspection of the stadium area. Initially it could not land and after hovering over the stadium for a few minutes it flew back. Later, it returned and landed at the temporary helipad in the stadium. Fire engines were stationed at the entry point of the MCD office at Ambedkar Nagar.

However, the fire engines left the venue within three hour of the drill, while the helicopter remained inside the stadium.

"The security agencies will carry out further drills for landing and take off of helicopters tomorrow when the area is sealed. Final touches to the evacuation plan would be given by tomorrow evening after discussions at various levels," a senior official stated.

Work began on breaking the wall behind the MCD Commissioner's office to make a secret escape door from the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium to evacuate the VVIPs in case of any emergency.

The security forces plan to take over the entire complex and the MCD officials have been told not to attend office till Monday as the MCD office complex would be totally sealed.

The entire stretch along Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg leading from the Indian Tourism Office crossing towards Raj Ghat and Delhi Gate has been barricaded on both sides.

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