Thursday, December 31, 2009

Integrated Radio System, Tetra to Tackle Emergencies during 2010 Games

It’s being touted as the first Commonwealth Games project to get off the ground. Come April, the government will launch an integrated radio system, Tetra that will tackle emergencies.

Eighteen agencies, including fire services, civic organizations and disaster management bodies, will be synchronized under the system. The Rs 99-Crore deals was signed with HCL Motorola on Tuesday.

Savitur Prasad, secretary (I-T), said, ‘‘Tetra is a common platform that will integrate the various services of the agencies so that the response time is significantly faster than is the case at present.’’

Under Tetra, services of agencies such as Delhi police, DTC, MCD, NDMC, offices of the SDMs, DJB, PWD, DDA, SAI as well as the organizing committee will be available on a common radio wavelength of 400 MHz. ‘‘This will be a secure line which will send encrypted data so that communication between the agencies is not hacked into,’’ Prasad said.

According to Delhi government officials, the system will be especially helpful during the Games when an integrated and fast response to situations will be the key to ensuring a successful event.

The tender, awarded to HCL Motorola for seven years, will be operational from April 2010. “In an emergency, local communication lines become jammed due to heavy traffic. This dedicated signal will help not only coordinate the services of various agencies better but also ensure that communication is kept established at all times,’’ Prasad said.

According to the agreement, 46 physical base stations will be set up across the city. About 10,000 Tetra sets will be in operation once the system is set rolling. Of these sets, around 3,200 have been marked for the organizing committee’s use during the Games in October 2010.

The radios will be available in the form of handheld, vehicular mounted and fixed sets. With high signal strength, the system is expected to work in adverse conditions as well, sources said.

Incidentally, it’s the first time that such a system is being launched by a state government. The licensee for the Tetra system will be the Delhi government with various agencies using the platform for faster communication.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

As 2009 is passing bye where are we?

2010 Commonwealth Games stint with year 2009

With the successful hosting of Beijing Olympics, China showed to the world that the dragon had arrived, ready to take on the best. Its close competitor, India, too aspires to do the same by making Commonwealth Games to be held in 2010 in the capital a grand affair to showcase the giant strides of the elephant.

But is it going to be a close call? When tardy preparations for a mega sporting extravaganza are likened to making arrangements for a daughter’s wedding, you know for sure that there desperation in the air. No wonder, deadlines and delays were the most common words that echoed in the office of Commonwealth Games 2010 Organizing Committee (OC) in 2009.

If bureaucratic red tape was not enough, global meltdown too played its part in delaying the 2010 projects. The saga started in May when Emaar MGF, the developers for the Games Village, announced that recession had hit them hard. Work was stopped as local sub-contractors alleged they hadn’t been paid for months by Emaar MGF. Left with no option, the Delhi Development Authority the land-owning agency handed over a Rs 700-crore bailout.

But that wasn’t the end of troubles. A month later, the schedule for the test events for the Games were announced a bolt from the blue for most of the construction agencies as work on most projects such as the Cycling Velodrome at the Indira Gandhi Stadium and Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range had barely started.

Amid rising concerns over deadlines, the OC came out with conflicting statements. While OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi claimed work was going on in full swing and that deadlines of September and November 2009 would be kept, OC vice-chairperson Randhir Singh admitted that ‘‘some’’ deadlines would be missed. An internal report by the OC’s international consultant, EKF, too stated that most venues would miss deadlines.

The shocker, however, came on September 14 when a letter written to the PM by CWG Federation chief Michael Fennell was leaked to the media. The letter, which came down heavily on the OC’s lack of preparations and warned that the Games could witness ‘‘partial failure’’, shook not only OC out of complacency but also stirred the public to a spectacle of a possible failure. The letter prompted the government to put sports minister MS Gill on the job even as the PM himself assured the CGF of making the Games a grand event.

It wasn’t the end of woes for the OC. The general assembly held in October turned out to be a disaster with Fennell again expressing displeasure: “ There are particular concerns across all operational areas.” The CGF recommended setting up of a technical overview committee to oversee the preparations even as it decreed: ‘‘We can’t afford any more slippages.’’

Kalmadi, inimitably, retaliated by demanding that the CGF repatriate Mike Hooper, the CGF representative in India. The OC chief launched a frontal attack on the CGF by calling Mike Hooper’s two-year stint with the OC as ‘‘useless’’ and an ‘‘impediment’’. Fennell replied by refusing to sack Hooper. Even as the OC was busy allaying fears, the DDA went ahead and sacked the contractor responsible for developing the practice areas in the Games Village for delays. Meanwhile, other construction agencies such as CPWD, PWD and the MCD maintained that deadlines would be met. By now though, the OC said that deadlines had been shifted from December 2009 to March 2010.

On December 14, the co-ordination commission, which had come for a review, said that while progress had been made, further delay in venue delivery of two major stadia Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and SP Mukherjee swimming complex was worrying. Their deadlines had been shifted to June 2010, too near the Games dates to be comforting. The OC reacted by promising that ‘‘these’’ deadlines would be met. With less than 10 months to go for the Games, it’s one promise that the OC cannot afford to break anymore.

MAKEOVER FOR DELHI
The Commonwealth Games is held every 4 years 71 countries take part in the sporting extravaganza, which was held for the first time in 1930 Delhi wins bid for the Games in 2003 Games to be held in October 2010

DOGGED BY DELAYS

May 7, 2009 | DDA forced to bail out Emaar MGF in the Games Village project due to recession

June 20 | Test events announced for various venues in the backdrop of many competition venues facing the possibility of missing deadlines

Sept 13 | Letter to PM from CGF chief Michael Fennell lambasting preparations leaked

Oct 8-12 | Fennell says CGF unhappy and Games could be in jeopardy

Oct 14 | Kalmadi asks for Mike Hooper, CGF CEO’s repatriation, request turned down

Dec 23 | Panel says progress better but venue delay worrying

CPWD assures about the competition of the main venue before May 2010

The main venue for Commonwealth Games 2010, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, will be ready by May next year with the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) deciding to deploy more engineers and workers to complete the project before the revised deadline.

“I told the Rajya Sabha that the stadium will be ready in June. But I am going to increase the number of engineers and hope it will be ready by May,” sports minister MS Gill said after a meeting of the group of ministers (GoM).

Interestingly, Delhi chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had expressed concern over the delay in construction of venues, which are primarily the responsibility of the Sports Authority of India (SAI). “Everybody is happy with the preparations now. The work is progressing well,” Gill said. His assurance came after the Delhi CM had said she was “losing sleep” over the delay.

Similar sentiments were expressed by CPWD DG Bhishm Kumar Chug. “Yes, CPWD will make JLN stadium ready by May. Raw material from different countries has reached the venue and more engineers and workers have already been deployed to complete the work before the revised deadline of June,” Chug said. “In fact, in our internal schedule, it was to be completed by May,” he added.

Construction work at JLN stadium complex was initially supposed to be completed in February 2010 but the deadline was extended after a demand for a tunnel was made in October. The tunnel from the inside of the stadium was needed to facilitate the entry and exit of performing artistes at the opening and closing ceremonies.

Though it was initially opposed by Gill and CPWD on the ground that it would cause further delays, later on they agreed in order to make the opening ceremony a spectacular show. The GoM, which meets virtually every week to keep tabs on progress on various fronts, on Tuesday took stock of projects related to the October 3-14 Games.

Chairman of the organizing committee Suresh Kalmadi was also invited to the meeting to brief members on his recent meetings with CGF president Mike Fennell and on the overall progress of the Games projects.

Job Opening for Experienced Personnel in 2010 Games

I have received numerous emails and comments from retired personnel and other experienced professionals regarding jobs and services in the 2010 commonwealth games.

The organizing committee has selected volunteers from different colleges of Delhi University, now they are inviting application for other posts at administrative and non-administrative level.

Directors: Post Graduates/ MBA’s with 8 years of experience in planning, strategy and operations.

Project Officers: Graduated/Post Graduates/MBA's with 4 years of experience in organizing/planning/operational skills.

The jobs are multifunctional and include security, accommodation, ticketing and other services.

Special: For Armed forces and other government officers (both in service and retired) of the level of captain/major/colonel are eligible for the post of project officer and directory respectively. Persons involved in sports/games administration may also apply.


How to Apply:

Visit www.cwgdelhi2010.org for more information. Apply through email at careers@cwgdelhi2010.org, or by post superscribing on the envelope the position and functional area applied for to:

Deputy Director General - HR,
Organizing Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi,
New Delhi City Centre Tower - II, Opposite Jantar Mantar,
Jai Singh Road, New Delhi - 110001




For searching more government jobs visit: Government Jobs in India

Visiting India for 2010 Games, Book your tickets early

You do not have to wait too long for the upcoming 19th Commonwealth Games in 2010. Scheduled in Delhi, the multi sports event would be organized from 3rd to 14th October next year. The ecstasy of the event is such that grand preparations have already started. According to the recent studies and surveys done by ASSOCHAM ( Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), the hospitality industry must gear up itself as around 10 million international tourists are planning to visit India during the Commonwealth games.

With the event drawing closer, Government of Delhi and Government of India have made elaborate plans to ensure safety and comfort of the tourists. The hoteliers also have pulled up their socks and have come up with new projects. The aviation industry has made its own preparations. Most importantly the tourism industry which has seen a setback in recent times has now experienced a boom and it would not be a hyperbole to say that it has resurrected Indian tourism industry.

Tour and travel agents have their plans to contribute to the industry. The agents have launched new and hot deals to attract the domestic and foreign travelers. The travelers to India would be highly benefited by these deals. They have launched new tour and travel packages that would take them for Delhi sightseeing tours. Apart form this; the tourists also have golden opportunity to visit the magnum opus Taj Mahal in Agra, which is very close to Delhi. If they wish they can even visit Jaipur for the historic monumental heritage tour.

The travel agents are providing all the facilities that would be a great help for the travelers coming to India. From hotel transfers to hotel booking, car rentals, customized itinerary, ticket bookings, everything is being taken care of by the agents. For the convenience of the tourists all the bookings and reservations are open on-line. The tour agents are offering attractive packages to allure the tourist which is anyway good for the visitors.

Birendra P. Baishya elected as Indian Weightlifting Federation chief

Member of Parliament and IOA North East Commission Chairman Birendra Prasad Baishya was elected unanimously as the Indian Weightlifting Federation president at its General Body Meeting on Sunday.

The election was necessitated after the earlier executive committee under president Harbhajan Singh resigned en masse under pressure from the Indian Olympic Association and Sports Minister M S Gill following dope flunk by six lifters.

"Mr Baishya was elected unanimously. All the 33 members units, including the affiliates like the Services, were present," a release from the IWF said.

Treasurer in the earlier executive committee Sahadev Yadav was elected secretary. SC Sharma from Delhi was made the new treasurer.

India's lone woman Olympic medalist Karnam Malleswari made her debut into weightlifting administration by being elected as one of the vice-presidents. KC Baba, an MP from Uttarakhand, was also elected as vice president.

The election was conducted in the presence of IOA observer Mukesh Kumar, secretary of Judo Federation of India.

Baishya, a Union Minister during the Prime Ministership of Inder Kumar Gujral, said his first and foremost task would be to clean up the dope menace which has seen India being banned twice in the past and facing another now after six lifters were found positive in an out-of-competition WADA dope tests in September in Pune.

"I want to cleanse the system wholesale. The IWF, under my regime, will function as a transparent unit and all members have been strictly told to adhere to the norms and be vigilant. No dope-tainted lifter will be tolerated," Baishya said.

Under International Weightlifting Federation rules, if four or more lifters flunked dope tests in a calendar year the country could be banned for a maximum of four years.

A ban of more than one year would result in India facing the ignominy of it being unable to field its lifters in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The international federation kept a decision on India's case pending in its executive board meeting at Goyang City in Korea.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Security Equipments for 2010 Games to cost Rupees 300 Crores

Security for the Commonwealth Games will be one of the costliest, with equipment cost alone going over Rs 300 crore. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies, will have security gadgets worth Rs 51 crore.

At Rs 41 crore, the Indira Gandhi Stadium follows close behind, while the practice venues at the Delhi University have a much lesser security budget of Rs 1.5 crore.

The Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), set up by the Government of India in 1967, will provide CCTV cameras and other security gadgets for the venues.

H C Kalra, general manager of ECIL, told that the ECIL develops technologies for defense and security purposes, and that they provide equipment to the Defense Ministry and the Delhi Secretariat.

Besides CCTV cameras, ECIL will provide Access Control Systems through which security can be managed digitally through computers. CCTV cameras will keep an eye on events inside and outside the venues. Their number will vary from location to location.

“Several other security equipments will be installed but we are not in a position to talk about them, as it might compromise the security,” Kalra said.

According to Kalra, installation of security gadgets has started at Thyagraja and Talkatora Stadium.

ECIL will provide security equipment to the 26 venues, including those being developed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Urban Development, the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Government of Delhi.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will provide security for the Games.

On Christmas eve Shera invites all to 'Come Out and Play'

On Christmas eve, 2010 Commonwealth Games mascot ‘Shera’ spread the message of 'Come Out and Play’. The mascot joined the Christmas festivities at a cathedral in New Delhi.

Shera was at the St. Mary's Cathedral at Haus Khas to convey the message of joy, togetherness and belonging in the true spirit of the Commonwealth Games .He invited everyone to take an initial step and become an integral part of the Games.

The mascot clad in his usual D 2010, mingled with people assembled at the cathedral. Shera distributed gifts and candies to children.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Either Finalize Contract Now or Leave Us: UK broadcaster SIS Live warns Doordarshan

If delay in getting stadia and infrastructure ready for Commonwealth Games next year is giving sleepless nights to many, hiccups have crept into finalization of contract for worldwide telecast of the event, raising doubts also about TV coverage of the ongoing Queen’s Baton Relay.

The contract was awarded in October after a global tender to UK-based SIS Live, Europe’s largest outside broadcast and uplink supplier, for Rs 246 crore. But paper work has not yet been finalized, leading a miffed SIS Live to tell Doordarshan that unless the contract was finalized soon, it would be difficult for it to continue with the work. The work, apart from covering the Queen’s Baton Relay across countries before reaching Delhi before October 2010 when CWG begins, included setting up world-class telecast facilities at the venues of 17 sporting events as well as imparting training to DD staff.

This veiled ultimatum from SIS Live has led to hectic parleys among officials of the national TV network, which has roped in solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam to iron out legal creases in the contract.

Doordarshan director general Aruna Sharma, however, was optimistic that things would be sorted out soon with the foreign partner though she admitted that there were a few hiccups in finalization of the contract with SIS Live.

“I am concerned like everyone. But I am sure things will be sorted out soon and a firm contract will be in place before mid-January. Non-availability of officials from either side on account of Christmas holidays is also delaying a full-fledged meeting. It just requires a single meeting of all concerned to arrive at a consensus document,” Sharma told TOI. Though the first draft of the contract was made available on October 29, the foreign partner has raised concern over Indian legal parameters being incorporated into the text of the contract.

Finally Parking Work on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg Kicks Off

Construction of the multi-level underground parking at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park at Bahadurshah Zafar Marg is finally going to take off. The proposal to begin work will be tabled in the standing committee next Wednesday.

This will be one of the biggest underground parking being made under parks in the city. The facility will accommodate about 700 vehicles and the park on top will be restored after it has been completed. The total cost of this project is Rs 53.3 crore. The parking which will go three-levels down and is expected to be completed within the next 15 months.

The plan is to construct a ramp parking under half of the total area of the four-acre park. This way, the only green space available in the congested commercial area will be retained and yet the problem of parking will get sorted out. Said an MCD official: ‘‘The idea behind using only a part of the park is to ensure that people of the Walled City can use it even as construction is going on.

The cost of construction, as well as maintenance will be recovered through parking and conversion charges.’’ The parking at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park will not only take care of the parking woes at ITO but the government is trying to expedite it as creation of a parking space is essential for the BRT project in the area to take off. This is because vehicles are parked all over the footpaths and service road, which need to be revamped as part of the BRT project.

Said an official: ‘‘With so many offices in the area, parking has always been a problem. Taking into account the large numbers of cars parked here, we decided to make the parking at Bahadurshah Zafar Marg larger than other parking being constructed in the city.’’

On any given day, around 1,500 vehicles are parked here, with space for only around 500 cars in the authorized parking lots, according to sources. Around 24 such parking sites were supposed to be constructed under the green cover in Delhi before Commonwealth Games, but work has only begun on four of them till date.

Fire at DU rugby stadium

A fire broke out at an under-construction stadium for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi University’s north campus on Thursday evening. Fire department officials said PVC sheets which had been suspended about 20 ft above the ground had caught fire.

No casualty or injury was reported from the spot. Six fire tenders were rushed to the spot and it took nearly two hours for fire officers to bring the fire under control. Officials said they were able to bring the fire under control by about 9.15 pm. The cause of the fire was not ascertained.

They added that not much damage was done. The site was cordoned off by private security guards deployed by Gammon India, which is constructing the stadium. The under-construction rugby seven grounds at Hindu College in Delhi University will host rugby matches during the Games next year. A few of the participating teams have already begun using the ground for practice.

Co-ordination panel comes down hard on 2010 delays

Days after Michael Fennell, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) head, gave a thumbs up to Delhi’s preparations for the event, the report of the co-ordination commission (CoCom) has not been as encouraging.

The CoCom, which conducted the review from December 14-16, has found plenty to complain about. Recommending close monitoring of the preparations by the CGF in almost all key areas, including venue delivery and operations, transport, security, technology and overlays, the report expressed concern over the delay in venue delivery, which would impact the test events. ‘‘Venue delivery and handover schedules have been recently pushed back from January to end of March, and for aquatics and ceremonies/athletics, to June. This had a detrimental impact on test events and any further delay will have a substantial impact on the Games operational delivery,’’ observed the report. The test events are scheduled to take off from January 13 with a hockey tournament at the national stadium.

Sources in the organizing committee (OC) admitted that during the CoCom review, the delay in the two major stadia - Jawaharlal Nehru and SP Mukherjee - had concerned the commission. Both are the primary competition venues for athletics and aquatics respectively. The report made its anxiety clear by stating: ‘‘Little or no concrete planning has been undertaken around readiness and limited planning is behind the test event programme...Initial test events are likely to be deferred due to late delivery of venues.’’ A senior OC official said, ‘‘The apprehension was that operational readiness, which will be tested during the test events at the major venues would have benefited the OC tremendously. But with test events getting delayed in both these cases, it’s too near the Games deadline.’’

The test events were scheduled to be held at JN stadium in March (weight-lifting) and April (lawn bowls), while the swimming competition was planned in April at SP Mukherjee complex. With delivery of both venues expected in June, both the test events are in jeopardy, sources said.

The report hasn’t spared the rest of the preparations either. While the Games Village got positive feedback with the report stating that it had the potential to be the best ever, the report found transport, technology and procurement areas to be functioning below par. The report said, ‘‘Traffic management presents substantial challenges, though mitigation plans are being developed.’’

Security got a thumbs up with the Delhi police’s planning being termed ‘‘well advanced’’.

NCR among top most polluted zone in India

Beijing had to take some harsh steps to reduce pollution ahead of last year’s Olympic Games in the city. As the countdown for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi begins, here’s some bad news. Delhi and its surroundings have some of the worst polluting zones in the country, according to a list of India’s severely polluted industrial clusters released by the environment ministry on Thursday.

Ghaziabad takes the third rank in the list and Bhiwadi is No 6. The Najafgarh drain basin, which includes Okhla, Naraina, Anand Parvat and Wazirpur, comes in as the 11th worst. Noida (12) and Faridabad (18) are not too far behind.

The report, an environmental assessment of industrial clusters, says more than 85% of the industrial zones in India — 75 out of 88 — are severely polluted. The worst performers are from Gujarat — Ankleshwar and Vapi — long known to have pollution management issues.

Said Jairam Ramesh, Union minister of environment and forests, while releasing the report, ‘‘Expansion and new industries should be put on hold in the industrial zones that are critical (43 out of the 88) till pollution control actions are put in place. Many of these areas have reached their limits and the situation is not under control at the moment.’’

TOXIC TURF Pollution in 10 areas at alarming level

The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi along with the Central Pollution Control Board and the state pollution control boards has prepared a report of India’s severely polluted industrial clusters. It is the first such report prepared by the government using an index that measured land, air and water pollution emerging from these manufacturing hot zones.

Ten out of the 88 areas surveyed have reached alarming levels, Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh said, adding that he would want the CPCB and the state pollution control boards to come up with action plans for cleaning up the 43 worst performers.

He said he would approach the finance ministry to make provisions in the next Budget to start a clean-up fund for these zones.

The action plans, the union minister announced, would be drawn up with financial and organizational support from the Centre.

Ramesh pointed out that the assessment the first step in a more scientific evaluation of the problem which will be from here on conducted biennially had not taken the public health impact into account.

For this, the environment ministry has separately commissioned the Public Health Foundation of India to conduct a study connecting the pollution loads to public health dangers.

After Stir, Government eases Visa Norms

The foreign ministry on Thursday announced relaxation in the new guidelines on tourist visas issued last month which had made it mandatory for foreigners holding long-term multiple-entry visas to take a two-month break between two visits.

The foreign ministry said the norms were eased to facilitate bonafide tourists. The tightening of visa norms following the unearthing of terror missions of Lashkar jihadi David Coleman Headley had led to a wave of protests from the US and UK among other countries.

‘‘It has since been decided that foreigners holding tourist visas, who after initial entry into India plan to visit another country and re-enter India before finally exiting, may be permitted two or three entries, as the case may be, by Indian missions subject to their submission of a detailed itinerary and supporting documentation (ticket bookings),’’ an official statement of the ministry said.

Tourists panic, grab extensions

Panic-hit tourists in India are already seeking visa extensions, those here for medical treatment being the worst-hit. Long queues were seen at the Foreigner Regional Registration Office in R K Puram, with anxious foreigners pushing their case with FRRO officials

Genuine tourists allowed re-entry

at all immigration check posts in India, the foreign ministry said, had been authorized to allow tourists to make two or three entries based on production of an itinerary and documentation (ticket bookings) substantiating the need for tourism-related travel.

Under the new rules, the visitors have to obtain special permission from the head of the Indian mission in their country and provide certain documents to establish the legitimacy of their return visit, sources said. They are also required to register within 14 days with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) if they return within two months of their departure.

British business secretary Lord Peter Mandelson, during his India visit, had met home minister P Chidambaram to request that the government rethink the visa policy. He said it would hurt British tourists who make India a base while traveling in the region.

The British High Commission had written to the Indian government asking for a review of the proposed visa guidelines.

Officials had later indicated they would be “flexible” if, at the time of applying for a visa, the applicant tells the Indian visa officer that he will also be traveling to other countries in the region, using India as a hub. The visa will reflect the itinerary of the tourist, affording him more flexibility.

Under the new rules, they will have to provide an undertaking that they will use the visa for visiting specific places.

The final decision, however, would rest with the head of Indian mission in that country, who will decide on the merits in consultation with the ministry of home affairs.

Traveller Check

Govt guidelines issued earlier said tourists must take 2-month timeout after last visit if it lasted more than 90 days, sparking outcry from US & UK, especially tourists

New rules to help ‘Genuine tourists’

Visitors can bypass timeout by getting special permission from head of Indian mission in their country & providing papers to establish legitimacy of return visit Will also have to register within 14 days with Foreigners Regional Registration Office on return Tourists traveling in groups allowed 2-3 re-entries provided they fully disclose itinerary to Indian mission/consulate when applying for visa; also have to provide undertaking visa will be used for visiting specific places

Smooth passage of Queen’s Baton Relay in Pakistan, assures Government

The 2010 Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee today said the government has assured them a smooth passage of the Queen's Baton Relay, particularly in its Pakistan leg in June next year.

During a visit to the OC headquarters here, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao gave the assurance to support the QBR which is now in Africa after its Europe leg.

"Rao reiterated all support from the Ministry of External Affairs for the on-going Queen's Baton Relay, which is now in Africa. She said the Ministry would particularly facilitate the conduct of the Queen's Baton Relay in Pakistan," a release from the OC said.

Rao was briefed by the OC on the various functional areas of the Games.

She showed keen interest in the working of the OC and its various functional areas.

English athletes may withdraw from 2010 Games to prepare for 2012 London Olympics

The athletics and Gymnastics events of 2010 Commonwealth Games might loss sheen as a host of top English names have decided to skip the quadrennial sporting extravaganza to focus on the 2012 London Olympics.

Besides Olympics Heptathlon bronze medalist Kelly Sotherton and long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe, Jessica Ennis, Beth Tweddle, Dan Keatings and Louis Smith are some of names who have reportedly decided to give the Delhi Games a miss.

"For some of the 17 sports, Commonwealth Games gold is the pinnacle achievement in an athlete's career. But a host of top names from athletics and gymnastics have decided not to travel to next year's games in Delhi as London 2012 looms," The Telegraph reported.

Team England's chef de mission Craig Hunter, however, tried to allay the fear of mass withdrawals from the 2010 Commonwealth Games. .

India is Prepared for any Bio attacks during 2010 Games

Almost eight battalions of India's National Disaster Response Force have readied themselves with prophylaxis for anthrax and nerve gas antidotes in preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games that will take place in New Delhi.

Nearly 71 nations are expected to take part in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 8,000 personnel from the eight battalions will be at all stadiums to fight any eventuality created by terrorists looking to cause panic or create terror.

"The profile of terrorists is changing. Gone are the days when only uneducated unemployed youth got into terrorism," Alok Awasthi, Commandant of NDRF, told Mid Day. "Now well educated and techno-savvy youth are getting indoctrinated and hence we have to be ready to understand their mindset. Hence we have been asked to be on alert during the Commonwealth Games."

The NRDF's main areas of concentration during the games will be the possibility of bioterrorism, especially through anthrax attacks or chemical warfare agents such as nerve gas, mustard, phosgene, hydrogen cyanide and cyanogen chloride.

To combat the potential attacks, the NDRF will be equipped with Residual Vapor Detectors, Chemical Agent Monitors, Water Poisoning Detector kits and three color detector papers. Devices for decontamination from the agents will also be available.

"We will be carrying out mock drills in the venue of Commonwealth Games from January to create awareness among the people and also to test our teams," Awasthi said.

Organizing Committee invites Tender for Games Training

The 2010 Commonwealth games organizing committee invites tender from travel agencies for training services, content generation, creation of training manuals and tools and delivery of training

Traffic Crawls as Games work on full fledge at CP

The price of heavy infrastructure development going on in Delhi for 2010 commonwealth games, is being paid by common citizens in the form of traffic jams, the heart of the city CP is also facing the same situation.

Frenzied construction work on subways and central verges and the restoration work on the Connaught Place facade seemed to have slowed down traffic in the area on Wednesday. With work having started on the subways in front of Regal Cinema and Shanker Market, the parking area on either side of the road was cordoned off leading to traffic congestion.

Ducting work for utilities also began in the Middle Circle leading to further chaos. Said NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari: ‘‘Work has already begun on two of the existing subways. We are also going to put all wires and pipes in a common utility duct in the Middle Circle and have started work there. Work on eight more subways will begin on December 25.’’

The entire work has to be completed by August 2010 and only one part of the carriageway will be open for traffic till then.

There was a spillover of the jam in the Inner Circle. ‘‘It took me 15 minutes to get to Inner Circle from Outer Circle. After that, it took another 10 minutes just to find a parking spot,’’ said an incensed Mita Singh.

‘‘There is just no space to park in the Outer Circle now. As a result of which most traffic turned to the Inner Circle to find parking. If the situation is so bad now, I wonder what will happen when construction of the subways begins.’’

Said president of New Delhi Traders Association Atul Bharghav: ‘‘Work has begun only on two of the subways and it has led to slowing down of traffic. Imagine what will happen once construction of all eight subways is taken up.’’

The traffic police is supposed to issue an advisory for people working in or going to CP. Said a senior traffic police officer: ‘‘We will come out with an advertisement this week giving alternative routes that people can take to CP and areas where traffic movement will be restricted. It is likely to take a week for the situation to stabilise. Parking is going to be available only in front of shops in Inner Circle and in the radials.’’

Meanwhile, with 500 DTC buses passing through CP everyday, DTC is working out its diversions.

The new subways will be disabled-friendly and will have escalators. The total cost of this project is Rs 35 crore.

Chief Minister Gifts 4 new projects for East Delhi

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit formally inaugurated four road projects with an investment of Rs 412 crore including a bridge, flyovers and underpass in east Delhi on Wednesday, months after these became completely operational. Playing to the gallery, Dikshit said after completing the Commonwealth Games related projects, her government would take the ambitious task of constructing 4-5 lakh flats for rehabilitation of slum-dwellers.

The announcement at ITO Chungi underpass gains significance since the public works department (PWD) had to remove over 1,700 slums for the construction of this project. After inaugurating ITO Chungi underpass, Shastri Nagar Pushta and Raja Ram Kohli Marg flyovers besides Geeta Colony Bridge, Dikshit claimed that in the next few years, trans-Yamuna area would become as good as New Delhi — something that is seen as a move by the chief minister to consolidate her base and also to strengthen the support for her son and east Delhi MP, Sandeep Dikshit.

Those who attended the grand ceremony were surprised to see the already functional stretches.

Ministers from Sheila Cabinet also promised locals to make Trans-Yamuna a better place to live. Finance minister A K Walia said, ‘‘The look of east Delhi has changed. Earlier, people used to feel those who were shifting to east Delhi did not find any other place in the city. And now, when people from south Delhi are interested to shift here, they don’t find any space.’’ Shahadara MLA and trans-Yamuna Development Board chairman Narendra Nath also claimed that in the next few years, this part of the city would emerge as the best ‘‘with the ongoing development.’’

Addressing the public gathering, Sandeep Dikshit lashed out at the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC), Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and other Central agencies for putting ‘break’ on city’s development. ‘‘These bodies have been set up for development, but instead, they are putting road-blocks.

CoCom still unsure of timely completion of games venues

The capital’s preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games has picked up pace over the last two months but the October 3-14 multi-discipline event still risks failure, according to the CGF Coordination Commission (CoCom).

Chaired by Commonwealth Games Federation Treasurer Austin Sealy, the CoCom visited the capital from December 14 to December 16 and made public its report on Delhi’s preparation.

‘While substantial progress has been demonstrated by OC (Organizing Committee) and its delivery partners since last CoCom meeting, it is clear that successful delivery of the Games remains at risk in many key areas,’’ the panel said in its conclusion.

Making it clear that things should have been put in place by now, the report said: ‘‘Many of these risks are atypical of an OC at this stage of preparation and they require the OC executive and the government to initiate immediate and ongoing remedial work with expert assistance in some areas.’’

The CoCom welcomed the late alacrity on the OC’s part but insisted the organizers have a difficult task at hand. ‘‘The overall standard of presentations and dialogue demonstrates that the OC and its delivery partners are starting to ‘turn the corner’ and are addressing the myriad of issues they face. However, compared with any recent major event of a similar scale, including recent Commonwealth Games, most focus areas reviewed by the CoCom present a high level of risk to successful Games operations,’’ it said.

Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday assured the Organizing Committee (OC) of the 2010 Commonwealth Games of smooth passage for the Queen’s Baton Relay that is currently in Africa.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hotel Rooms Scanty, tents to fulfill demand for 2010 Games

As the Commonwealth Games is drawing closer, the Government is busy putting in place arrangements to accommodate guests. In addition to five-star hotels and guesthouses in Delhi and NCR, the organizers are also planning to set up tent houses at Gurgaon and Faridabad to accommodate heavy inflow of tourists.

Union Minister for Tourism, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja said the tents would be helpful in overcoming the shortage of rooms. “At the camping sites, large tents can be put up to accommodate tourists during the Games which will be helpful in overcoming the shortage of rooms,” said Selja.

She made this observation at Tourism Fair, first of its kind in Gurgaon to promote tourism. The event is being organized by Haryana Tourism Mart in association with State Tourism department.

Gurgaon was given a target to make available 6,647 rooms in star category hotels, but so far the administration could manage to make only 4,438 rooms.

The remaining rooms would be made available at the camp sites to be located at Dundahera in Gurgaon and Surajkund in Faridabad.

These sites would also be used in future to promote recreation tourism, farm tourism, golf tourism, eco tourism and heritage tourism in the region.

According to tourism officials, the concept of camp tourism was fast catching up and tent camps for tourists are very popular in reserved forests like Ranthambore in Rajasthan and Corbett in Uttarakhand.

“The main objective of organizing Tourism Fair was to promote Gurgaon as new tourism hub in the run-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games and to give a platform to the traders and tourists and henceforth it will be organized every year,” said Rajendra Kataria, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Gurgaon.

The fair has been planned on the pattern of World Tourism Mart to present a ‘one stop exhibition’ for domestic and international tourism organizations, travel and tour operators, hotels and resorts, airlines, railways and cruises, travel portals and travel writers, reservation and several other stake holders.

Gurgaon has planned to host a Shopping Festival, as a pre-Games event and then an event in October 2010 to coincide with the Commonwealth Games.

Monday, December 21, 2009

ITDC looking to hire around 600 students for Games

It’s time to put your best foot forward. The India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is looking for students to come on board as volunteers for the Commonwealth Games 2010. The good news is: you’ll get paid to hobnob with the Games participants and celebrities staying at ITDC properties in the city.

‘‘We are looking to hire around 600 students from Delhi University as well as hospitality colleges across the country as executives for the Games. We will not only provide them training and an opportunity to be an integral part of history but also pay them a handsome salary,’’ said the spokesperson, ITDC. He added the hunt for suitable ‘‘volunteers’’ would start from January 2010, but refused to divulge how much the stipend would be. Though he said it would match with the best in the industry.

The catch, however, is that ITDC’s not going for campus recruitment like the organizing committee or Delhi government. Sources in the organization said only the best would be taken on, with ITDC planning to visit a select few colleges like LSR, St Stephen’s, Hindu and others for the recruitment. Added the source, ‘‘We will be training the selected candidates for two months, and thereafter, they will be posted in one of the ITDC properties for three months till the Games.’’ The central government is reportedly in talks with the concerned hospitality colleges and DU to ensure the academic calendar doesn’t clash with the five months that would be taken out by the volunteers.

According to the ITDC spokesperson, the 600 volunteers would be spread across the main venue, Ashok Hotel, and other properties like Samrat, Janpath and the DDA flats that are being managed by ITDC for the Games. ‘‘Around 35 executives will be posted at Ashok as the face of the hotel for the Games. The DDA flats will also be manned by these trainees, as it will be an important tourist accommodation during the Games,’’ added the spokesperson. The selection process will consist of interviews, group discussions and interactions with the ITDC selection committee. ‘‘We’re looking at young people who want to be closely associated with the Games and have an interest in the industry as well,’’ added the ITDC official.

The OC has already started volunteer recruitment while Delhi government will be starting off soon.

Archery Venue set to miss Deadline

Yet another Commonwealth Games project has run into extra time. After concern was raised over missed deadlines in the case of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and S P Mukherjee Swimming Complex, now work at India Gate lawns the venue for the archery finals is stuck in a turf war.

Work at the site, also known as Central Vista, is reportedly getting delayed because both the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and Organizing Committee (OC) have issued tenders inviting bidders for the same job. ‘‘Since the responsibility was given to us, we had issued an expression of interest in September and are now in the process of selecting bidders,’’ said a senior CPWD official.

However, department officials claimed that they had come across a tender notice issued by the OC too in a national daily earlier this month, which had created ‘‘confusion’’. OC, on the other hand, maintained that there was no lack of clarity. Said a senior OC official: ‘‘The tender has been issued for overlays in sporting arenas.’’ Even as the squabbling continued, experts felt that further delay would compromise preparations for the 2010 Games. The CGF head, Michael Fennell, had on Saturday raised the issue of delay in construction of venues, especially pertaining to J N Stadium and S P Mukherjee Complex with the sporting body. Central Vista is the venue for the finals of the archery competition. The practice sessions and preliminary events will be held at DDA’s Yamuna Sports Complex. YSC is expected to be completed in March 2010, along with most other Games venues.

The Central Vista plans include a temporary structure on 2 acres of land on the India Gate lawns at an estimated cost of Rs 7 crore. About eight reputed firms with expertise in construction of temporary structures for sporting events have already submitted tenders. The venue will be equipped with modern facilities, including a waterproof roof, and will have a seating capacity of over 3,000.

Sheila Dikshit Worried over Delays

A day after Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell expressed “great disappointment” over the delays in venue construction, chief minister Sheila Dikshit betrayed her own anxiety, admitting she was ‘‘certainly worried’’ and ‘‘nervous’’ about the lagging projects.

Hours after a meeting of the group of ministers, Dikshit told TOI: ‘‘We are fairly on course with our projects yet even a delay of a month worries me. So, it would not be surprising that other agencies would be worried. There are different agencies involved and each is facing its own set of problems and are working to resolve them.’’

Echoing Fennell’s observations which came after his tour on Saturday, Dikshit said completion of the stadiums was a major worry. ‘‘I only keep praying we won’t let the country down,’’ the CM said. She, however, hastened to add, ‘‘we will do everything possible to see (to it) that the country is not let down.’’

Fennell had, the day before, warned organizers that further delay would impact ‘‘operational planning’’ and test events to be held at the venues ahead of the Games. While steering clear of the CGF president’s comments, Dikshit said several projects had been waylaid by ‘‘unpredictable’’ developments, referring to the ASI notice to stop work on the elevated road over the Barapullah Nallah, a crucial link between the Games village and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

She also attributed some of the delays to the absence of a single overseeing authority until the PM set up the group of ministers.

Union sports minister MS Gill conceded the organizers were doing a ‘‘catching-up’’ job but assured that the stadiums and other infrastructure would be ready well before the October 3-14 Games. ‘‘Whatever time has been lost since 2003, we are trying to make up. God willing, we will get there in good time,’’ Gill said, adding a clear direction on the final plans would be given after the next GoM meeting on December 29.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lagos Received Queen’s Baton

THE Lagos State Government will on Sunday receive the Queen's Baton ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be hosted by India.

The baton arrived Abuja on Friday will be received at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, by the Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, at about 12 noon and thereafter the baton will be presented to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola at the State House.

The Queen's Baton will then be taken around the city of Lagos.

The Baton relay is one of the great traditions of the Commonwealth Games which symbolizes the gathering of people from across the Commonwealth.

The Baton relays have been the curtain raiser to every Commonwealth Games since Cardiff, Wales Games in 1958.

The Queen's baton has been used in uniting the Commonwealth of Nations.

The baton which started his journey from Buckingham Palace on October 29, will climax in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium where the opening ceremony of the 2010 Games will be held.

The baton arrived Nigeria from Ghana has visited about 70 countries that make-up the Commonwealth of Nations for about 240 days.

The baton bearer will hand over to Her Majesty where the Queen's message that was placed in the baton some 11 month ago will be removed and read aloud thus officially declaring the games open.

First World Class Railway Terminal for Delhi

New Terminal will help to ease traffic in overcrowded Delhi Stations

Railway Minister promises more before 2010 Commonwealth Games

Delhi got its first railway terminal with Union railway minister Mamta Banerjee flagging off the Lucknow Winter Special from the swanky Anand Vihar station on Saturday.

Rakesh Chopra, railway board (engineering), said the terminal was the railways’ first attempt to create a world-class facility. With a separate parcel loading facility, two escalators and six lifts, the station will have a special heritage gallery and custom-made subways which can be used by physically-challenged passengers.

Banerjee stressed on the need to decongest stations.’ A huge number of trains enter Delhi and this terminal will help in easing traffic,’’ she said. The minister said the terminal was ‘‘a New Year gift’’ to Delhiites and designed keeping in mind the Games. ‘‘For all those who reside on this side of the Yamuna, it is time to proclaim that you too own a modern railway station. Anand Vihar, being strategically located, will serve the needs of NCR,’’ Banerjee said.

The minister said a special Commonwealth Express will be flagged off which will travel across the country to popularize the sporting event. ‘‘The Vision 2020 plan for Delhi includes completion of two dedicated freight corridors and construction of an auto hub on a railway land near the capital.’ Delhi has seen only 10% of our work. The remaining 90% will be completed before the Commonwealth Games,’’ Banerjee said.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit thanked Banerjee for the terminal.’ It was Banerjee who was instrumental in passing the Metro project for Delhi in her earlier stint as railway minister. This new terminal will be of immense help to the 10 lakh people coming to the capital each day since the trains will take load off road traffic. The Anand Vihar terminal is also another feather in our cap. After the Metro, the rest of Delhi is envying people residing in the east.

Banerjee also flagged off a winter special train to Lucknow from Anand Vihar and a 15-coach EMU from Delhi to Panipat (through remote control). The second ladies’ special train to Ghaziabad was also flagged off. ‘‘Since the UPA chairperson, the President, the speaker and now even the leader of opposition is a woman, we may soon need a male special train for commuters,” Banerjee said.

New Action Plan for 2010 CWG Venues

Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell on Saturday reacted to the delay in delivery of venues for the 2010 Games. ‘‘While I note improvement in operational areas, the organizing committee (OC) and its partners must maintain the momentum that they have now gained across all functional areas,’’ he stressed.

Fennell then expressed ‘‘great disappointment’’ over the findings of the CGF coordination commission on the delayed delivery of the venues, and in particular, at how the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, and the SP Mukherjee Swimming Complex were so far behind schedule.

‘‘We have continuously received assurances on the delivery timelines for these projects, and to now hear that there are further delays is distressing. These delays will have an impact upon the OC’s operational planning, particularly in relation to the conduct of test events and overlay installation,’’ Fennel added. ‘‘There can be no further delays,’’ he stressed, pointing out that he was pleased when sports minister M S Gill assured him on Saturday that the venues will not encounter any further delays.

Fennel next shifted gear to make statements that would be music to Kalmadi’s ears.’ With the backdrop of the coordination commission’s draft report and the positive progress made in operational planning, Mr Kalmadi and I have agreed today to an alternative approach to our ongoing interaction and monitoring work,’’ Fennel asserted.

‘‘In view of the current improved status, we have agreed it is now more appropriate for the CGF to provide additional on-going support to the OC through its existing Commonwealth Games Knowledge Management Programme,’’ Fennel added.

‘‘When I announced the formation of the committee just over two months ago, I noted that this group would monitor ‘progress against promise’. So now that will happen through our coordination commission and the ongoing work with OC of our CEO Micheal Hooper,’’ said Fennell.

Asked how there was this sudden sense of bonhomie between the CGF and the OC, Fennell was quick to say that the progress seen and the attitude towards the work at hand had definitely enhanced the confidence of the CGF in the OC and various stakeholders.

‘‘We can all have our different views but ultimately it’s job to work together to deliver the Games successfully,’’ he added.

A very nervous Suresh Kalmadi looked relieved at the announcement that the CGF won’t set up the Technical Review Committee. He admitted that the decision has brought a sigh of relief and harped on the fact how the CGF had witnessed improvement in the preparations.

ACTION PLAN
CGF decides against setting up of Technical Review Committee. Commonwealth Games Knowledge Management Programme to help

Assistance in three prime areas
Venue operations: Particularly the process associated with functional area integration at the time of Games
Volunteer programme: Particularly helping with the planning associated with training of 30, 0000 volunteers
Games readiness: Particularly successful demonstration of key capabilities and performance indicators

CWG chief Fennel disappointed’ by snail’s Pace of Work

‘‘Great disappointment!’’ was the reaction of Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell on the delay in delivery of venues for the 2010 Games scheduled for October next year. (I think CWG Chief is over reacting on the situation, he may not know that we Indians are very slow in the starting but always finish at first position)

After a series of meetings on Saturday, Fennell said in a statement that he was distressed to hear that despite promises of delivery according to timelines, there were further delays in completion of certain venues, particularly Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and SP Mukherjee Swimming Complex.

However, in a move that brought the smile back to the face of organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, Fennell announced scrapping of the Technical Review Committee (TRC) that he had proposed during his stormy visit in October for the CGF general assembly. This, he said, he was doing in view of the draft report of the CGF coordination commission which had mentioned ‘‘significant progress in operational planning’’.

The CGF chief spent all of Saturday holding meetings. After a meeting of the organizing committee, Fennell stepped out with CGF CEO Micheal Hooper and OC chairperson Suresh Kalmadi to address the media. The body language indicated that there was a clear attempt to wipe out memories of the cold vibes evident at the Commonwealth games general assembly in October.

Fennel began on a soft note saying that the draft report had pointed to real progress in the organization of the Games. But he was quick to point out that there was much ground to be covered.

Friday, December 18, 2009

CPWD confident on timely completion of Venues

While completion of work at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will be slightly delayed from the March 2010 target for Commonwealth Games, Central Public Works Department (CPWD) the agency executing renovation and upgrade of stadiums is confident about meeting the new deadline for all other sporting venues.

Promising timely completion of Games-related works, CPWD director general Bhishm Kumar Chugh told ‘‘All the venues will be ready before March next year. The major thrust is on timely completion of work.’’

JLN Stadium will be ready by June next year as the decision to construct a tunnel from inside the stadium to facilitate entry and exit of performing artistes was only taken in October by the Group of Ministers (GoM) on request from the core team comprising Shyam Benegal, Prasoon Joshi and Bharat Bala which conceived the opening ceremony. ‘‘Work on the tunnel started on November 12,’’ said Chugh.

JLN Stadium work involves construction of a highly intricate structural system. CPWD has involved international experts from seven countries in the innovative and ambitious project. Apart from the main athletics venue, which will be ready by June, other venues like the weightlifting stadium and lawn bowl facility within the JLN Stadium complex will be complete by February 15, ahead of the March 2010 deadline.

With less than a year left for the mega event, the CPWD chief said Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium will be ready by March 2010 and claimed that construction work was going on with renewed pace. At the IGI complex, the wrestling stadium will be ready by February 21. The cycling velodrome, for which work started only in January this year, will be ready in time along with the gymnastics stadium. ‘‘The IGI complex will be handed over by March,’’ said Chugh.

Though work started late due to a delay in the decision of number of lanes, the S P Mukherjee Swimming Stadium will be completed by March next year. ‘‘The daily target has been fixed now. Around 350 skilled workers are working in extended shifts to facilitate cable installation for the innovative cable net structure on which the roof will be placed,’’ he said.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Volunteer scheme relaunched for 2010 commonwealth games

Hello,

All of you who want to participate in the games as volunteer and lost previous chances, here come the second chance for all Delhi university students to be a part of 2010 commonwealth games. See below for the timings and schedule at different colleges.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

$60 Million Earnings from TV Rights for 2010 CWG OC

The 2010 Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee has earned $60 million as revenue from television rights. The revenue is $20 million more than expected, said committee officials on Friday.

Organizing Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said on Friday that they had targeted $40 million from selling television rights, but they have already managed $60 million.

Kalmadi while announcing the tie-up with motorcycle major Hero Honda said,” We have crossed our target and we are going to touch $60 million by selling television rights. We have struck a good deal with broadcasters in Australia and Britain by sorting out the timing of the disciplines which are popular in these countries."

"CWG is going to be a revenue-neutral event. We have taken $2.6 billion from the government and we will be in a position to repay the amount. We will raise the money through sponsorship, TV rights, merchandising and ticket sales." Hero Honda will be the presenting partner during the Indian leg of the Queen's Baton Relay.

Kalmadi said,” We are delighted to have Hero Honda as a partner for CWG. It is an excellent platform to reach out to national and international audiences. I hope more Indian companies will come forward to participate in the spectacle.”

Pawan Munjal, CEO of Hero Honda, said, "The company is committed to promoting sports in the country. I am hopeful that the Games will inspire an entire generation and leave a lasting legacy for the country."

Haryana Ready with 6000 Hotel Rooms

In view of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, as many as 6,000 rooms are being constructed on war footing by various hotel owners in Haryana, which would be completed within the stipulated time, Union tourism, housing and urban poverty alleviation minister Kumari Selja said here today.

The taxi drivers would be imparted behavioral training, so that they can behave decently with foreign tourists and people coming to watch these games, she told reporters here.

The road tax charged by various states would also be collected at one point, so that tourists might not face any hassles, while going from one state to another, she said adding the collected road tax would be distributed among the states later on.

She said that the Commonwealth Games were expected to lift the country's tourism industry in a big way.

"It would be the biggest sports event to be held in the country ever," she said adding that the tourist places of country would certainly attract a large number of foreign tourists next year.

Besides Delhi, tourists would be accommodated in NCR areas and it would benefit Haryana a lot.

She said that special efforts were being made to promote tourism in Ambala. Holistic schemes would be prepared after exploring tourism potentials in Panchkula, Yamunnagar and Ambala, the union minister said.

Nehru Stadium Needs Some More time for Completion

As the first day of the review meeting of the coordination commission (CoCom) with the organizing committee kicked off on Monday, sources admitted that the OC has a tough job ahead.

From venue operationalization to procurement details, the CoCom would be looking at a much-improved preparation schedule to the Commonwealth Games 2010 — a task that, sources say, could get a jolt with the delay in operations of some of the key venues, specially Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Said a senior official, ‘‘Though most of the venues are expected to be ready on schedule around March, the JN Stadium could get delayed beyond that.’’ This was also discussed at the annual general meeting held earlier this month, where it was revealed that JN Stadium may be handed over to the OC as late as May-June.

Incidentally, the stadium is the venue for not only the opening and closing ceremonies but is also the competitive venue for athletics and weightlifting.

Venue operationalization had been one of the major concerns of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) at the general assembly meeting held in October this year. At that time, CGF chief Mike Fennell had raised questions about the OC’s preparedness on this front, apart from other areas of concern like the lack of international experts for various functional areas as well as procurement for the Games. OC officials, however, claimed the concerns raised at that time had all been addressed in the intervening two months.

While Kalmadi said ‘‘considerable progress’’ had been made in all areas since the last CoCom visit in May, he cited advances made in the functioning of the OC with a more relevant workforce as well as the appointment of experts in various key functional areas as right steps. ‘‘Finances are under control, with revenue from sales of TV rights having already exceeded expectations,’’ Kalmadi added.

That the OC is expecting positive feedback from the review meeting is apparent as secretary, ministry of sports, Sindhushree Khullar, candidly admitted that constructive advice was expected from the CoCom. ‘‘A lot of time has been spent in explaining things instead of getting on with the task of ensuring the Games are conducted well. The level of monitoring the progress of the Games has gone up. Your (CoCom) advice will help us get on with it,’’ said Khullar.

CoCom members were tightlipped about the meeting, with Mike Hooper, CGF representative in India refusing to comment on how the presentations went. The CoCom is expected to present its report to Fennell later this week.

Delhi Goes Green for Games

In tune with the green plan for next year’s Commonwealth Games, the Delhi government has drawn up a comprehensive plan to recycle the vast amount of waste expected to be generated during the 13-day long sporting event.

The state’s Environment department has already identified over 80 schools having paper recycling units to recycle waste paper from different Games venues.

A soft-drink manufacturer has also been roped in to recycle plastic water bottles and juice bottles. “Over 80 schools have been given paper recycling machines. These schools will recycle all the paper waste generated during the sporting event,” Environment Secretary Dharmendra said. A proper mechanism will be put in place to collect organic as well as inorganic waste from Games venues and take them to the recycling plants on a daily basis, the Environment Secretary added. “We are taking all possible steps to minimize the carbon footprint for the Commonwealth Games,” he said.

The Delhi government and Games organizing committee have already declared that the event will be the first “Green Games” in the history of sporting events. The department has already carried out large-scale afforestation and development of city forests.

Nigeria set to select wrestlers for 2010 Commonwealth Games in India

No fewer than 15 states are competing at the maiden Governor Timipre Sylva National Classic Wrestling Championship which began on Monday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in south-eastern Nigeria to select wrestlers for the 2010 Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in India.

The President of the Nigeria Amateur Wrestling Federation (NAWF), Mr Austin Edeze, told journalists on Monday in Lagos that the competition would be a blessing to the federation.
He said there would be action in Greco Roman and free style for men while the women would compete in open weight category.

Edeze thanked the governor for sponsoring the event, which he said, was the only major competition the federation would be having this year.

He said that the championship was open to all states and clubs affiliated to the federation.
Edeze also said that the competition would help the federation to scout for young wrestlers

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hero Honda signs MoU to be official partner for 2010 Commonwealth Games

Hero Honda, country's leading motorcycle manufacturer, on Friday joined hands with the Organizing Committee of the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 (OC CWG Delhi 2010) to be its official partner for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in the national capital.

Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of Organizing Committee and Pawan Munjal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hero Honda, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a formal event held in the national capital.

Addressing the media, Kalmadi termed Hero Honda's initiative as laudable, prompting other corporate and private entities to follow suit.

"I am very happy to take Hero Honda on board because with your associating with us, branding with us. I think it will be encouraging for all the private sector to join us for the Games," Suresh Kalmadi said.

Apart from Hero Honda, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the state-owned largest power generating company, has also signed an agreement with the Games Committee.

Pawan Munjal said it is only natural for Hero Honda to be an active partner in the Games, as it has been actively promoting various disciplines of sports such as cricket, golf and hockey.

"It is only natural that Hero Honda should partner Commonwealth Games 2010 in keeping with our very long term commitment for the promotion of sports across various disciplines across India," Munjal said.

The Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi will be India's first major international sports event after the 1982 Asian Games.

The Games will be held between October 3 and 14 next year, and will be staged in India for the first time and in Asia for the second time.

Visitors from 5 selected nations can avail Visa-on-arrival

India has announced visa-on-arrival (VoA) for five countries as part of its campaign to promote the 2010 Commonwealth Games it is hosting.

India's Home Ministry has approved the VoA facility to citizens from Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore.

The Tourism Ministry said in a statement the VoA scheme was introduced for tourists coming from these countries which were "considered potential source markets and where there were no security concerns".

"The decision to provide the VoA facility has sent a positive message about the intention of our country to welcome foreign tourists and also signals a sense of self confidence in the security systems of the country," said Tourism Minister Kumari Selja.

The introduction of the VoA scheme is expected to provide a quantum jump in foreign tourist arrivals to India from these source markets in the future.

This in turn would also provide a boost to India's civil aviation sector, as the airports would enjoy an increase in air traffic, she added.

To be introduced on a pilot project basis, the visa-free facility would last for a year and is scheduled to begin next month.

More than 150,000 Malaysian tourists visit India annually, making Malaysia India's largest source country in the Southeast Asian region.

Malaysia is also expected to send a large contingent to the Commonwealth Games scheduled from Oct 3 to 14, 2010.

NTPC official partner for Power - 2010 Commonwealth Games

NTPC, the largest power utility company, lighting nearly 1/3rd of India, shall be the official Power Partner for the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi. A MoU to this effect was signed between NTPC and Organizing Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi in New Delhi. The MoU was signed by Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, Member of Parliament & Chairman, OC CWG Delhi 2010 and Mr. R.S. Sharma, CMD, NTPC.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kalmadi said, "We are very happy to get on board NTPC Limited as the official Power Partner for the CWG Delhi 2010. The Games offers a great opportunity for Indian businesses to explore & develop new growth opportunities and to establish a strong connect with people spread across diverse geographies. The Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi have undoubtedly asserted India's global presence and brought to the forefront the country's emergence as a sporting, political and economic giant."

Echoing similar views, Mr. R.S. Sharma said, "NTPC's vision to be a world class integrated power major and power India's growth, matches with that of Commonwealth Games. This association shall provide the NTPC brand a platform for visibility across the country and the globe. NTPC's association with the Commonwealth Games will help in enhancing positive brand values of youth, vitality, health and achievement."

NTPC Limited will market its leadership position through the use of the Games marks and imagery. This recognition will allow NTPC to enjoy marketing rights, advertising, promotion and recognition to connect with all its customers around the country.

NTPC shall add about 1500 MW from its Dadri (980MW) and Jhajjar (500MW) projects which are slated to be ready by the Commonwealth Games deadline. NTPC - Dadri presently generates 840 MW of power through coal and 817 MW through gas.

Hotels for 2010 CWG might not be ready in time

In another setback for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 3,000 hotel rooms that had been expected to come up around the New Delhi international airport may be ready long after the curtain drops on the event.

The reason: tardiness by the airport developer in awarding contracts to hoteliers. At least 40,000 visitors are expected to fly in for the 3-14 October Games, the biggest sporting event to be hosted by India since the 1982 Asian Games.

“The contracts were awarded so late that I don’t think any of the hotels will come up in time,” says Uttam Dave, the India head of European hotel company Accor SA and president and chief executive officer of InterGlobe Hotels. “We are trying our best to open one hotel at the airport under the Ibis brand before the Games but even that is touch and go.”

Unviable: Signage for Aria Hotels at its construction site near IGI airport. Except for Accor’s budget hotel Ibis, the other hotel projects are likely to miss their deadline, say industry officials.

Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), the airport developer, has set apart a 45-acre hospitality district. It invited bids in October last year for 13 projects and received about 60 bids. Since March this year, DIAL has awarded hotel firms plots of land to develop and operate seven hotels.

While Accor, which was awarded two plots of land, will operate three hotels—one each under its brands Pullman, Novotel and Ibis—Lemon Tree Hotels, Bird Group and Hyatt Hotels with RS Saraf Juniper Hotels are setting up one each. Aria Hotels and Hyatt are setting up one hotel and more recently DB Hospitality, part of the Mumbai-based real estate developer DB Group, has been awarded two plots of land by DIAL.

As part of the deal, the developers were to build facilities such as convention centres, restaurants and commercial plazas within the hotels to meet the requirements of passengers and airlines. But except for Accor’s budget hotel Ibis, the other projects are likely to miss their deadline, say hotel industry officials.

InterGlobe hotels is Accor’s joint venture partner for the Ibis brand in India. The airport Ibis will have 465 rooms and will be built in two phases, with the first phase comprising 300 rooms. “We are hoping the phase-I will be ready before the Games,” Dave said. “We are working in 24 hour shifts to develop the hotel.”

A top DIAL official, who asked not to be named, said given the delay in awarding the contracts because of issues raised by the government over the financing model, there is unlikely to be even a single room ready for the event. “Even the ground breaking (ceremony) has not started,” this official said.

According to Patu Keswani, chairman and managing director, Lemon Tree Hotels, DIAL needed to resolve issues between its shareholders and the government, which led to a delay in awarding the contracts.

Lemon Tree is developing a 300-room hotel near the airport, which will be launched in mid-2012, according to information on the company’s website. According to an October report by hospitality consultant firm HVS India, around 60 hotel projects are being developed in Delhi and its suburbs in time for the Games. The report said only 53% of these hotels will be built over the next five years, which will make around 8,780 rooms available.

Out of this, only 5,700 rooms will open before the Games. “The hotel contracts at the airport were to be auctioned four years back,” said Manav Thadani, managing director, HVS India, a hospitality consultancy. “None of the hotels are going to be ready except maybe for Accor’s Ibis because a budget hotel does not take more than a year or year and a half to be built.”

Hyatt Hotels Corp., which sold shares in an initial public offering in the US in November, declined to comment, citing US Securities and Exchange Commission rules that bar company officials from making any public statements until 45 days after the listing.

The Bird group is developing a 240-room hotel under the Dusit 2 brand, which is expected to be ready by 2011 end. “Procedural delays by DIAL led to a delay in awarding the contract, so it is not possible for any hotel to be ready before the Games,” says Ankur Bhatia, executive director, Bird Group. The group is developing another 50-room hotel near the airport under the Dusit Devarana brand which is likely to be ready before the Games.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sports Minister M S Gill inspects Indira Gandhi stadium

Sports Minister M S Gill today inspected the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium here and said once completed, the 2010 Commonwealth Games venue would be at par with the stadiums seen during the Beijing Olympics last year.

On an hour-long visit, Gill held discussions with the Sports Authority of India officials and CPWD engineers, and reviewed the preparations at the stadium where Gymnastics, Cycling and Wrestling competitions would be held during the October 3 to 14 event next year.

The minister took a round of the main Gymnasium and the Cycling Velodrome at the site.

Expressing satisfaction with the pace of work, Gill praised the engineers' effort.

"I have seen the stadium where we will have cycling, wrestling and gymnastics. The stadium is a mighty complex and a technological marvel.

Water Treatment Plant to be setup by Chennai firm for Delhi Games

City-based VA Tech Wabag, a Rs.574-crore turnkey contracting company, will commission a water treatment plant in Delhi early next year for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The plant, with a capacity to treat a million gallons a day, will meet the water needs of the estimated 8,000 athletes and support staff from 71 countries participating at the Games, to be held next October.

“The Rs.35-crore order will be executed six months ahead of the Commonwealth Games,” company managing director Rajiv Mittal told reporters Monday.

Mittal said his company was also in the process of implementing four projects worth around Rs.600 crore for Delhi Jal Board, the authority looking after the national capital’s water needs.
According to him, the group has a global order book position of around Rs.2, 000 crore.

Monday, December 7, 2009

After Bluelines Delhi Metro Became Bloodlines Claimed 3 lives

In yet another mishap at a Delhi Metro construction site, three laborers were injured after they fell from the building of under-construction Govindpuri Metro station in southeast Delhi on Saturday night.

Sources said they were immediately rushed to the Moolchand Hospital from where one person was discharged after first-aid while the other two are still under observation.

The police said that it was a minor accident. ‘‘The laborers were wearing the protective gear. However, they slipped and fell down. We are investigating the case. If required, we will lodge a case,’’ said the officer investigating the case. He added that both the injured were out of danger.

Govindpuri Metro station is part of the Central Secretariat-Badarpur line.

Senior police and DMRC officials refused to comment on the issue. Additional commissioner of police (southeast) said that he was not aware of such an incident. For the entire day, none of the Metro spokespersons issued an official communication.

UP electricity board culprit of delay Metro to Vaishali

The wait for residents of Vaishali and Indirapuram, who were hoping for a Metro ride by May 2010 after Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) recently sorted out their differences — may get longer.

Now, the UP state electricity board, is causing the delay. Responsible for removing the overhead 220KV line enroute the proposed Metro line, it is yet to take first steps. The GDA had already paid them Rs 6 crore to relocate the line.

Now, the GDA has sent a stern letter to district magistrate R Ramesh Kumar asking him to intervene in the matter. In a meeting conducted at the DM’s behest earlier, the three parties had decided that the state electricity department relocate the line at the earliest. The board is yet to begin work.

The board, though defended itself. ‘‘The work to remove the sub-station at Vaishali station has already begun. Once we achieve that, it will not take us long to transfer the line,’’ said an official. Earlier, in a meeting between Metro authorities and GDA, DMRC had raised this issue with the GDA. GDA’s letter to the DM is being seen as an offshoot of that meeting.

Meanwhile, GDA decided to release Rs 80 crore regarding the completion of the Metro link from Anand Vihar to Vaishali. ‘‘It has been decided that GDA will release the remaining Rs 80 crore for the completion of the extension line between Anand Vihar and Vaishali to DMRC at the earliest,’’ said a GDA official.

‘‘We are confident that the Metro will run in this section from May 2010,’’ said a senior GDA official. He said that another sore point — removal of an electric sub-station near the Vaishali Metro station — has also been sorted out. ‘‘The electricity board is working on replacing the sub-station,’’ added the official. The 2.67kmlong stretch is expected to cost Rs 260 crore. Out of this, Rs 130 crore was released after the MoU was signed between DMRC and GDA.

IGI Metro line to be secured with GIS Mapping

The showcase Airport Express Line touted as Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s jewel in the crown has added another feather to its cap. The line, which will take passengers from Connaught Place to the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in 18 minutes, will be mapped on Geographic Information System (GIS) to enhance safety, maintenance and traffic regulation, a first of its kind exercise in India.

Mapping the 22.7-km Metro corridor expected to become operational by September 2010 on GIS will help in mobilizing emergency services in case of a blast or fire on the train.

Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created to build the line, will map all the emergency services, including fire stations, police stations, hospitals etc along the alignment, said a senior spokesperson of the consortium. The spokesperson said that the company has already made some maps for the Delhi alignment. Once the construction of the corridor is complete, locations of the piers, viaduct and stations will be imported to GIS. ‘‘GIS technology will enable efficient maintenance of the Metro line and it will have layers ranging from technical details of pillars, piers and transformers,’’ the spokesperson added.

The layers correspond to the Metro corridor, utilities, and land base including roads, landmarks, buildings, rivers and railway crossings. It also maintains information on the equipment like underground cables, transformers, piers, viaduct, stations and tracks.

‘‘With the help of GIS maps the exact location of the fault along the network can be determined and maintenance team can be dispatched immediately. This will ensure speedy maintenance and a better and reliable service,’’ the spokesperson said.

Deadline for Hockey Venue: 15 December 2009

It’s a lesson in how to put the best foot forward. With intense interest being generated in the test events scheduled to be held in January 2010, the government seems to be working overtime to ensure that at least the first event goes off without a hitch. In a step in this direction, the organizing committee (OC) chairperson, Suresh Kalmadi has promised Major Dhyan Chand (MDC) stadium will be ‘‘complete’’ by December 15, 2009, ensuring that the test event is held at the venue as scheduled. Interestingly however, the events scheduled for some of the other competition venues like Thyagraj, have been postponed meanwhile.

Said Kalmadi recently on a site visit to MDC stadium, ‘‘The stadium will be ready before time, by December 15 itself. It will be one of the best hockey stadium in the world.’’ Incidentally, the stadium, which has been renovated at a cost of Rs 201.11 crore, is not only a competition venue but also a training venue with additional hockey pitches available at the Shivaji Stadium and Yamuna Sports Complex for the sportspersons. The stadium, which was originally set to be ready in September this year, is the first stadium which will host the test events, a kind of mock-Games for the city government. The 4-nation tournament is scheduled to be held from Janaury 13.

In contrast, the Thyagraj Stadium, which is the competition venue for Netball and where the test event was scheduled to be held in March, has been handed over a different timetable. Sources said the stadium, which is the only ‘green’ stadium in the city, will be ready only in February, when it is expected to be handed over to the OC. ‘‘The construction is going to finish by December 31, though the athletics track — Thyagraj is the training venue for athletics — will be ready in February,’’ added an official. ‘‘The test event, supposed to be held in March, has been tentatively set for July,’’ added an OC official.

OC secretary general Lalit Bhanot played down the rescheduling, claiming there had been no fixed schedule. ‘‘For Thyagraj, we had marked an invitation competition, which was not a fixed event. The event marked now will be the test event for the stadium,’’ insisted Bhanot, adding the stadium was otherwise ‘‘almost ready’’. Asked if other test events had been re-scheduled as well, Bhanot said both the hockey, shooting — in February in Karni Singh and CRPF ranges — as well as archery — in Yamuna Sports Complex — would take place as planned.

A Look At Games Plan

Major Dhyan Chand Stadium (hockey) DATE OF COMPLETION: 13-17
Jan Yamuna Sports Complex (archery) DATE OF COMPLETION:
7-14 March Thyagaraj Stadium (Netball) DATE OF COMPLETION: June-July (re-scheduled)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Youngsters Took Great interest in volunteer program for 2010 CWG

The event was to celebrate the induction of volunteers to the Commonwealth Games 2010. However, onlookers would have been forgiven for thinking it was to felicitate the Organizing Committee (OC). As hundreds of volunteers turned up for registration at the OC offices on Friday on the eve of International Volunteers Day, many were disappointed they couldn’t get a chance to interact with those already volunteering.

‘‘It would have been nice to get an idea of what the volunteer programme is about as well as what the OC is looking for from the volunteers themselves,’’ said Pallavi Singh wistfully. Singh’s friend Sonali Sharma felt that the selected volunteers should’ve been introduced by the OC, so that registrants could interact with them later. Singh, who had come with her college mates, though was thrilled to see Abhinav Bindra, the chief guest at the occasion.

It was however, the opportunity to be part of the CWG ‘family’ that seemed to be the driving passion for all those who had come for registration. Said Zoya Sodhi, a final year student from Kamala Nehru College, ‘‘It is an opportunity to be part of history. I’m very excited and am hoping I’ll get through into the programme.’’ Much like Sodhi, Singh too had hopes of making it to the volunteer programme. ‘‘We’ll get a chance to meet new people and interact with international sportspersons: who wouldn’t want that,’’ said the geography (H) student.

It wasn’t just the college students though who had dreams in their eyes at the venue. Sushma Arya, a 55-year old self-confessed traveler, said she wanted to sign up so that she could ‘‘serve her country’’. ‘‘I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and this seemed the perfect opportunity. My family’s equally excited, though they couldn’t come to register themselves,’’ said Arya, who is the eldest member of her family. The good news for Delhiites looking to volunteer for the Delhi Games 2010 though is that registration is now available online, through a dedicated portal by the OC (www.cwgdelhi2010.org). The OC is looking at inducting about 30,000 volunteers, sourced from various agencies including the Delhi government, the tourism and sports ministries as well as the SAI and NCC.

Speaking at the occasion, secretary, ministry of sports, Sindhushree Khullar, summed up the passion of those who had come for registration by calling them the ‘‘heart’’ of the Delhi Games 2010. Suresh Kalmadi, chairperson, OC, was also present at the event. The volunteers have been categorized into different groups, from senior citizens to artists and professionals. The volunteer programme will be going on through the next few months in the run-up to the Delhi Games 2010.

Volunteer Program Relaunched for 2010 Games



For more information and applying online visit: http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/delhiunited

Haryana Announces Bread & Basket Scheme

Even as the hotel industry expressed its inability to provide the required number to rooms to accommodate visitors during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Haryana government announced that the bed and breakfast scheme would be implemented in Gurgaon. Under the scheme, house owners will be able to rent out their premises to tourists coming for the Games.

Gurgaon deputy commissioner Rajender Kataria said, “It takes a long time to build a hotel and so the Central government, after a survey, approved some 25 houses in Gurgaon that could be converted into guesthouses.” He said the registration and other processes had been simplified and the issue of security would be addressed.

“The hotel industry is also facing a financial crunch and the real estate market is in a virtual slump. The bed and breakfast scheme seems to be the only viable alternative. Other services like restaurants, conference rooms, etc are also being looked into,” Kataria added.

Under the scheme, house owners can rent out a maximum of five rooms with complimentary services like power backup, Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and 24X7 security among others. “Once approved, the state government will market the facility online,” said Kataria.

“Two kinds of licenses will be issued to house owners — silver and gold. Both have different criteria, payment slots,” Kataria said.