Friday, October 24, 2008

Citizens too must throw in their lot for 2010 Games

Citizens too must throw in their lot for 2010 GamesThe government is spending $37.5 b into Delhi to make it ready for 2010 Commonwealth Games. But till the citizens put in their lot nothing will change. You can do so by deciding to become a conscientious citizen. The change must begin now..

THE OTHER day, Discovery Channel was showcasing a documentary on Beijing Olympics; the preparation was overwhelming. Beijing Olympics was a success and it didn’t happen in few days, weeks or months but it was continuous hard work of six to seven years. China was hoping to see more than a hundred thousand tourists during the event and to manage such a big number never seemed too easy. The Olympic committee expressed their concern regarding the air pollution, which was five times above World Health Organization standard for safety.

Nearly US$17 billion was spent to clean the air and Beijing implemented a number of air improvement schemes for the duration of the games. This included stopping work on all construction sites, closing many factories both in and around Beijing, closing some gas stations and cutting motor traffic by half. Two new subway lines were opened and thousands of old taxis and buses were replaced to encourage residents to use public transport. China added 3800 natural gas buses in Beijing, which is the largest fleet in the world.

I loved their passion for their country, everyone volunteered in their best possible way to make it a glory. From the local people to car drivers started learning different languages and retired officials took the ownership of guiding tourists on the road.

To address maximum people, schools started to teach children so the message can be sent to their parents as well. It was a heartfelt moment when engineers and labors working in the deepest tunnel said, “We are not working hard for Olympics but for China.” Very true, during Olympics people will travel to China from all over the world and there would be no better time to present modern and high-tech China which is not less than any other developed country.

If I start to compare the preparation between India and China, then I would sadly say there is yawning gap. I don’t want to find an escape route by saying that was Olympics and this is Commonwealth Games. In both the cases huge amount of bidding and planning are involved, as Olympics and Commonwealth committee take the country’s infrastructure and readiness very seriously. Below is the reality check for all of us, including me.

Most of the people driving in Delhi have no civic sense; they would overtake your car from any side, change lanes frequently and to make it worse, drive with full high beam during night hours. I wonder when the government would initiate action against such insanity and when would people learn to follow the traffic rules!

Do not switch on high beam during night hours, it turns people completely blind and jeopardize their lives. I have been driving on Delhi roads for quite sometime now, but the pain and agony while driving on the bumpy road is relentless.

Before accelerating I literally plan the route to avoid uneven road. Just think what a heavy cost I would pay for driving in Delhi and NCR roads if car servicing falls under monthly tasks list. Every month a chunk of money goes out from my salary as tax to the government but, what do I get in return? Power cuts! Roads from hell! Useless drainage system falling apart in rainy days!

Staying in Gurgaon, one can imagine the worse when it comes to infrastructure. Gurgaon is a corporate hub where all the multinational companies are strengthening their roots. This is where property rates are at its peak for designer villas and apartments. Haryana government claims Gurgaon to be another “Singapore” but I wonder if they have ever thought of the basic needs to a well maintained city! All the lavish villas and apartments have to pay a huge amount for power back up and it is a reality check for a resident to step out on the road, where half constructed roads, water logging and traffic jam await.

Thankfully, the metro work is going fast; it has covered all the major parts in Delhi and NCR. In the process, roads in Delhi have taken a good thrashing by rain with huge construction trucks and daily traffic grilling on it.

However, it doesn’t excite me any bit if new flyovers, metro connectivity and a few natural gas vehicles are added to present India to the world in Commonwealth Games, 2010. On the contrary China did a fabulous job in improving overall infrastructure for Beijing Olympics, 2008, it was a complete facelift.

I read an article somewhere; the Indian government is pouring an estimated $37.5 billion into the city for it to be ready in time for the 2010 games. I pray to god, the amount such as this reaches to the right people through the right channel; otherwise we will be caught napping and bring shame to our country. We have exactly 24 months to go for Commonwealth Games and I hope we would make our country proud. Let’s come together and contribute in shaping up our ever loving city, Delhi, at our own level.

I am changing myself from today, saying no to littering, spitting and leaking in the open. I promise to follow the traffic rules religiously. I am prepared to contribute my part to the development of this country. Are you with me? May I expect the same from you, my fellow citizens?


Jo said...

I hope so too but it makes me feel apprehensive (even though Im an Australia, I want to be proud of India) as to the preparation going on as Eric described about the roads in New Delhi, maybe time is running out to make a really big change for the better:(