Saturday, February 28, 2009

Railways throws 2010 road project off track

Wants Public Works Department To Seek Clearance On Land Again

The construction of Ring Road bypass from Salimgarh Fort to Velodrome Road, a critical traffic link for the Commonwealth Games, has run into another roadblock. This time it is the Northern Railway (NR) that’s delaying the project.

The Public Works Department (PWD) had requested NR to construct one carriageway of the bypass as a road underbridge (RUB) on Old railway bridge and a bridge over the feeder railway line near Rajghat Power House. For execution of these works, NR had submitted an estimate of over Rs 45.5 crore which was accepted and the amount was paid in October 2008, a senior PWD official said.

Sources said that the PWD, through its various correspondences and meetings with railways, had presumed that the estimate also included the approval for construction of the Ring Road bypass on railways’ land adjacent to the tracks. However, NR now wants the state government to seek formal approval from it regarding leasing or transfer of land.

But with time running out for completion of the project, PWD is not prepared to take any chances. Sources said that project manager, Commonwealth Games, Sarwagya Srivastava, sent a letter to NR general manager Vivek Sahay on Wednesday pointing out all the facts and emphasizing that construction of the bypass must be completed at the earliest. The PWD has asked railways to accord requisite permission to lease or transfer land measuring 2520 square metre on priority basis. Chief PRO (NR) Rajiv Saxena said he was not aware of such a letter as of now and would only be able to respond by Monday.

It’s not the first time that the bypass has been delayed. First it was the ASI that had objected to the alignment of the bypass which was initially very close to the Salimgarh Fort. The PWD changed the alignment but then the Delhi Urban Art Commission raised its red flag objecting to certain portions of the project.

In the deadlock situation, government sought the intervention of LG Tejendra Khanna to clear the project. STUCK IN RED TAPE

Northern Railway (NR) asks PWD to seek permission for transfer/lease of railways land on which a part of Ring Road bypass is to be built PWD had paid over Rs 45.5 crore to NR to construct one carriageway of the bypass as a road underbridge on Old railway bridge and a bridge over the feeder railway line near Rajghat Power House Now, project manager, Commonwealth Games, has written to NR to accord permission for the lease of land

Commonwealth meet postponed after construction delays

Construction delays for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi have caused the Commonwealth boxing championships to be put back until early next year, the Indian Boxing Federation (IABF) said on Thursday.

The event was originally scheduled to be held in December this year, but the IABF requested a postponement as the venue might not be ready in time.

"The Commonwealth boxing federation has agreed to our request to postpone the Commonwealth boxing championships," IABF secretary general P.K. Muralidharan Raja said in a statement.

"The IABF has now requested the International Boxing Association to allot a suitable date in February-March 2010."

Commonwealth Games organizers are under pressure because of delays in several projects for the games, which are scheduled to take place from Oct. 3-14 next year.
Construction delays also forced this year's world badminton championships to be moved to the southern city of Hyderabad.

Talasha Prabhu in Indian swimming squad for South Africa

Swimming Federation of India said that Dempo Goodwill Brand Ambassador, Goa ace swimmer Talasha Prabhu has been selected to train in South Africa High Performance Center at the University of Pretoria.

This is for higher training to train the Indian team for the forthcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi.

The Indian Team will leave for South Africa tomorrow and will return on April 1.
The selection was preceded by a strenuous coaching camp which started on January 12 at Bangalore Sports Authority of India (SAI) South Center.

Sixty-three top swimmers were asked to join the camp and after working on the techniques and basic strengthening, a total of 35 swimmers (25 male and 15 female) were shortlisted to go to South Africa for an intensive training programme.

This is the first foreign training camp for an Indian swimming team and the swimmers will be exposed to biomechanical and physiological tests along with advanced training methods.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Confusion over 2010 CWG Opening and Closing Ceremonies

2010 CWGConfusion seems to be the order of the day as Delhi gets ready to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games. At least, this seems to be the case as far as hosting the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Commonwealth Games is concerned.

At a time when crores are expected to be spent on these two important cultural megashows of the Games, some top officials of the organizing committee (OC) are still in the dark about who will be in charge of these ceremonies the OC itself, the sports ministry or the Delhi government.

In fact, a decision is yet to be taken on the issue when the Games are just 18 months away.
"It's a bit confusing at the moment as nothing has been finalized. It appears as if the Centre wants the Delhi government to do it," a senior OC official told TOI.

The official, however, added that OC will host cultural programmes in the Games village, as is the case with all major events, and the Delhi government will have cultural programmes in different parts of the city.

It's a norm worldwide that the organizing committees of major Games conduct both the opening and closing ceremonies. However, it has been learnt that the Centre is not too keen on letting the Commonwealth Games 2010’s organizing committee plan and conduct these two ceremonies on their own since both the ceremonies are huge affairs and "country's image is associated with it".

Sources said a group of ministers (GoM) led by Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy will finalize the details of these two ceremonies. IOA president Suresh Kalmadi and Delhi CM Sheila Dixit will be part of this group.

MCD Says 2010 CWG Projects on Track

MCD Says 2010 CWG Projects on TrackThe Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has claimed that 2010 Commonwealth Games related projects are on track. It has, however, demanded that L-G Tejendra Khanna should intervene and form an apex committee under his chairmanship to ensure that preparations for the Games gain momentum.

Said standing committee chairman Vijender Gupta: ‘‘The responsibilities entrusted to MCD as part of the Games like facelifting of 36 major roads, landscaping of roads leading to stadia, venue, training centre etc, is well ahead of time. The work of constructing parking over nallah near Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is going on along with other projects. However, we want that an apex committee be formed in order to have better co-ordination between agencies.’’

Attacking the government, Gupta added: ‘‘The Delhi government is yet to initiate a number of projects. Moreover, due to their lackadaisical attitude we have already missed the opportunity of developing infrastructure under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM).’’

However, even as the civic agency claims that MCD is on track with its projects, many of the 16 multi-level automatic parking sites and 17 railway over-bridges and under-bridges (ROB/RUB) that was suppose to get completed before the Games, is yet to begin.

According to Gupta, all projects related to the areas where Games will take place, however, are taking place. He said: ‘‘we have started with Vivek Vihar ROB/RUB project which is near the Games site besides other projects directly related to the Games.’’

MCD also stated the government is not releasing enough funds and due to which it’s taking time to get the projects completed. Said works committee chairman Mahender Nagpal: ‘‘We had asked for Rs 1200 crore from the government for Games projects but have received only Rs 400 crore till date. This will definitely make the process slow as the infrastructure projects take lot of time to finish. As far as road projects are concerned, various agencies are carrying out the maintenance work and we can only re-carpet it once they have done the work.’’

Out of the 16 parking sites, work at Kamla Market was suppose to have begun two years back and the tendering process for others are in various stages, according to commissioner K S Mehra. Moreover, out of the 17 RUBs/ROBs, work is going on for six and MCD is awaiting clearances from Railway Ministry for the others.

Besides this, its decongestion plans for Old Delhi and New Delhi railway stations have also hit a roadblock.

Underfire Organizers Present Brave Face

Underfire Organizers Present Brave FaceBut Work Yet To Start At Two 2010 Commonwealth Games Venues

The organizers of the 2010 Commonwealth Games are clearly racing against time to get the venues ready for the mega event.

The members of the organizing committee (OC) on Tuesday claimed that barring the cycling velodrome, all venues will be ready by year end (Dec, 2009). However, with the Games just 18 months away, work is yet to start at two venues, including the one that will host archery.

After a meeting with different stakeholders at the Thyagraj sports complex, the venue for netball, OC vice chairman Randhir Singh told reporters that the venues for hockey and netball will be ready by September 30, 2009 and boxing by October 21, 2009.

"The other venues will be completed by December 31, 2009, except the cycling velodrome where the construction work started last month. It got delayed because the international cycling federation (UCI) wanted the indoor timber track fully air-conditioned. We had planned an open stadium" Singh said. The velodrome is expected to be completed by March 31, 2010.

He said that different stakeholders are working in tandem and there’s no confusion. "We have 22 committees to conduct the games. Everything is going in the right direction."

Reacting to the parliamentary standing committee’s report, tabled in the parliament on Tuesday, which has strictured the Delhi govt for running behind schedule, Singh said everything is on track. "We don’t see any problem happening."

Meanwhile, director general for the Games, V K Verma, said the organizers would engage 30,000 volunteers for the smooth conduct of the Games.

DEADLINES:

  • National Stadium (hockey) - September 30, 2009
  • Thyagraj Complex (netball) - September 30, 2009
  • Talkatora Indoor Stadium (boxing) - October 31, 2009
  • Other venues - December 31, 2009
  • Games Village - March 1, 2010
  • Work yet to start - Lawn balls and archery
  • International events to test the venues - between February 2010 to June 2010
  • Trial Games to test facilities - From August 1 to 12, 2010

Delhi Under Fire for 2010 CWG Delays

Hospitality, Tourism Worry House Panel

A parliamentary panel has slammed the Delhi government for dragging its feet on infrastructure development in the run-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The committee’s report, tabled in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, noted that there was lack of coordination between agencies and there had been little done to address the problems of shortage of hotel rooms and connectivity between Delhi and its neighboring states.

"Government agencies should wake up and act fast for the completion of various projects to keep the time schedule of the Games" the report said.

The parliamentary standing committee report on tourism noted with concern that Delhi government had not submitted any proposals for development of infrastructure and capacity building, including creation and renovation of hospitality facilities or modernization of tourism sites to the tourism ministry since November 2008. Adequate hotel accommodation, the report said, was a key component for the Games.

"At present, there is a huge gap between demand and supply of hotel rooms in India in general and Delhi in particular. The committee finds that hotel development in India is ailing with many impediments such as regulatory, financing, clearances and operations" the report said.

It added that while the countdown for the Games had begun, there was inadequate infrastructure such as roads, airport, accommodation, entertainment, parking, security, stadia and supply of power.

The committee, headed by RS member Sitaram Yechury, also raised doubts on Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) capacity to expedite the issue of identification and allotment of hotel sites for construction of budget hotels for the Games. ‘‘The pace of creation of additional hotel accommodation at 39 hotel sites is lagging behind schedule" the report said.

The report said emphasis should be paid to improving connectivity between Delhi, Jaipur and Agra through road and air. The panel felt that Agra needed special attention not just in terms of beautification but also dedicated heritage corridors that connect monuments like the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri.

The panel recommended that the tourism ministry should encourage central and state agencies to allot land soon for construction of hotels and help create a single window facility for investors in tourism projects to meet the demand for additional rooms for the Games.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Andhra Governmant cancels proposed project in Delhi

Andhra Governmant cancels proposed project in DelhiAdversely hit by financial slowdown, another mega real-estate development in Delhi got derailed on Friday as Andhra Pradesh government cancelled Rs 1,000-crore Andhra Pradesh International Centre project, a multi-utility complex at the existing AP Bhavan and its adjoining areas in Bungalow Zone (LBZ). The government had claimed last year to get at least 40 corporate cottages and guest house ready by 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Confirming this K V Reddy, vice chairman and MD of Infrastructure Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (INCAP) said, "The Nagarjuna Construction Company-NCC Infrastructure Holdings consortium did not turn up to sign the agreement with the government even after expiry of 60 days period. We gave them another 15 days, but they still did not formed the SPV to execute the project."

The consortium was supposed to execute the development agreement (DA) and licence agreement (LA) and also failed to submit performance security of Rs 100 crore before the execution of DA and LA. Reddy did not rule out the financial slowdown as one of the reason behind the contractor failing to meet the requirement. "We have lost six months and we have to restart from ground zero. It seems the developer are finding it difficult to attain financial closure of BOT projects," said another official.

The state government had claimed to complete the project by first quarter of 2011 on this nearly 20 acres prime space.

The developer was required to pay an annual minimum guarantee amount of Rs 45 crore during the first 10 years from commercial operation, Rs 60 crore during the next 10 years and Rs 75 crore during the last 10 years of the 30-year license period.

Besides annual revenue sharing in a bracket of every 10 years, the state government will also get Rs 1,800 crores from the developer.

Kalmadi Assures that CWG Venues will be ready by Dec

After the Commonwealth Games Federation had expressed its anguish over the delay of work on Games infrastructure three months ago, Kalmadi admitted that the delay was caused primarily due to the escalating price of construction materials..

Suresh Kalmadi, the chief of New Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 moved to combat the criticism caused by the delay in construction of the Commonwealth Games venues and cost overruns, by promising to complete all projects by the December 2009.

While speaking to the media, Kalmadi said, “I’m confident that all New Delhi venues will be ready by the end of December.” He further added, “I assure you venues will be ready. They’ll be then put through test events and all problems sorted out six months before the Commonwealth Games are to take place.”

The 2010 Commonwealth Games will be held in Delhi from between October 3-14, 2010. While speaking, Kalmadi was found very exciting. “These games will showcase India to the world,” he added. His enthusiasm was so high that he promised to overtake 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth.

After the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had expressed its anguish over the delay of work on Games infrastructure three months ago, Kalmadi admitted that the delay was caused primarily due to the escalating price of construction materials like steel and cement. But he also assured that the condition was successfully handled.

Kalmadi is also the president of the Indian Olympic Association. After Kuala Lumpur organised the Commonwealth Games in 1998, New Delhi is the second Asian city to host the Games. It would be the second major sports event in India after the 1982 Asian Games.

Mohinder Singh Gill, the Sports Minister of India also confirmed that the construction work would be closely monitored to meet the proposed deadline. He said, “While there is a lot to be done, I’m sure we’ll be ready in time. We’ll be ready, just like an Indian marriage where things look chaotic but eventually things happen smoothly.”

Kalmadi said the Queen’s Baton relay would start from London in the first week of November and travel to 71 Commonwealth nations and territories before arriving in New Delhi. He also declared that Queen Elizabeth II would present the baton to an Indian athlete at Buckingham Place, from where the relay would go to all Commonwealth countries and territories. The baton would visit every state in India too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

2010 Commonwealth Games Sankalp Utsav

2010 Commonwealth Games Sankalp Utsav
Delhi government is going to organize "Sankalp Utsav" on 21st and 22nd feb 2009 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi with an objective to channelize the citizen's participation in the betterment of the city in the wake of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games 2010.

Elements of the Sankalp Utsav(Festival)

  • Sensitization of public on various civic issues
  • Exhibition by departments to showcase their future projects
  • An exclusive area where all departments handling Commonwealth Games 2010 would showcase their projects

Salient Features

  • Interactive Programmes
  • Film Shows , Nukkad Nataks, Puppet Shows
  • Sale of eco friendly products
  • Cultural Programmes by Sahitya Kala Parishad
Schedule

Date : 21 feb 2009

Participation Districts:

  • East
  • North-East
  • Central
  • New Delhi
  • South
Date : 22 feb 2009

Participation Districts:

  • North
  • South West
  • West
  • North West

Games chaos Created Panic among Broadcasters

Games chaos Created Panic among Broadcasters NETWORK Ten and Foxtel representatives have dashed to New Delhi on an unscheduled visit this week amid fears that the 2010 Commonwealth Games hosts will fail to meet commitments to the official broadcasters.

The team leader for Channel Ten and Foxtel, Bob Kemp, told The Australian in New Delhi yesterday that the broadcasters "clearly have some issues with some areas and that's why we're here for discussions".

"We're taking the opportunity to meet various members from the organising committee across a whole range of issues from accommodation to technology, venue preparedness and security," Kemp said.

"We're a little more nervous about some things than we are about others."

Ten beat the Nine Network in a fierce bidding war last year for the exclusive broadcast rights to the Commonwealth Games, which it will share with pay-TV network Foxtel.

While Delhi organizers sought yesterday to placate the nervous rights holders, a picture is emerging of a shambolic organization that is way behind schedule on key construction and organizational deadlines. The event's main private developer is said to be in financial strife and the cash-strapped state of Delhi announced this week it would be forced to put all non-Games infrastructure projects on hold.

Accommodation for the anticipated flood of international visitors for the event is also under a cloud, the Delhi Development Authority conceding this week that only one-third of the promised new 6000 hotel rooms would be ready on time.

Plans to build six new hotels in the capital have reportedly been scrapped because of the current financial crisis.

Security remains a key issue in the wake of the November Mumbai bombings, which are understood to have forced a major review of previous arrangements.

The fate of the Games village is under a cloud after Dubai-based developer Emaar MGF was reported to have approached the DDA for a financial bailout.

A DDA official said this week that no decision had been made on whether to grant the request. The Government has already granted Emaar MGF a nine-month deferral on the repayment of a $15.8million loan from the State Bank of India.

The locations for the Games' main venues are also in doubt. Environmental cases are pending over the alleged illegal destruction of more than 1000 trees to build squash and basketball courts and the construction of the Games village on the Yamuna River floodplain, in contravention of an environmental assessment that found it would cause serious flooding and effect Delhi's already dwindling water supply.

The Supreme Court last Friday ordered a reassessment of the plans for the basketball and squash courts.

Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said yesterday the federation was relying on guarantees from the organizing committee and all levels of government that environmental concerns had been addressed and the village would be delivered on time.

"We have to rely on the assurances we're given," Hooper said. "There's no alternative. We have openly said that time is no longer our friend.

There's no time for procrastination, we must take decisions and move forward, and I would like to think that all stakeholders have got that message."

Hooper dismissed reports suggesting that Melbourne was on standby to host the games should Delhi fail to meet its deadlines. But with Delhi's Games organizing committee due to deliver its next progress report in May, he said the federation would be looking for clear signs that it was on target.

Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit admitted last week that she was not happy with the preparations for the 2010 Games, just 18 months from the event.

"Some of the projects have been delayed, which is worrying. But I hope things will be in place before the event as it's a question of the country's reputation," Dikshit said. She added that with so many stakeholders involved, there was great scope for chaos.

While India's central Government in its interim budget this week announced a funding boost for Commonwealth Games projects, Delhi's cash-strapped state Government has been forced to freeze all non-Games projects until after the event.

Amidst Chaos Commonwealth Games on time

Amidst Chaos Commonwealth Games on timeBrushing aside doubts, the Chairman of the 2010 Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, asserted on Tuesday that the construction of the stadia would be completed by March next year and the mega-event would be held on time.

“Let there be no doubt, the Commonwealth Games is happening on time. We will provide World-class infrastructure. Most of it will be ready by the end of this year and some might take time till March next year,” Kalmadi said during the launch of the Business Club of India (BCI)’s website for the Commonwealth Games.

The Union Sports Minister, M.S. Gill, also expressed confidence that the behind-the-schedule construction work would not pose any hindrance in conducting the Games.

“Construction of some stadia started late. Cycling is one of them and shooting is also held up, but we are monitoring the progress every month at the Coordination Committee meeting. Every effort is being made so that these will be completed in time,” Gill said.

“It’s like organizing an Indian marriage. This is India and we do it like this,” he added in a lighter vein.

Government’s support

The Minister assured Government’s support even though the cost is going up every day. “The Government is clear. Money is being given to fulfill the responsibility,” Gill said.

A presentation was made about the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) for the Games. The baton journey will commence from the Buckingham Palace in London on November 8 this year and it will reach India on June 25 next year.

“Of the 336 days of relay, 236 will be international days,” Jason Dwyer, Director, QBR, said.

The function attended by a few Union ministers, top functionaries of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), present and former diplomats from India and abroad and some elite officers of the Central and Delhi Governments appeared more of a show of strength by the

Games Organizing Committee though it was stressed that the new portal, www.businessclubindia.org, would facilitate global trade in India during the 2010 extravaganza.

“BCI will undertake promotion of the Commonwealth Games. The portal launch should be seen as a much-needed step,” Kalmadi said.

Road shows

Before the Commonwealth Games, the BCI will host 11 road shows across eight countries.

Union Ministers of State for External Affairs, Anand Sharma, and E. Ahmed, President, CII, K.V. Kamath, former Ambassador to the USA and ex-High Commissioner to the UK, Lalit Mansingh were some of the dignitaries present on the occasion.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Badarpur corridor meets police roadblock

Badarpur corridor meets police roadblockWith less than two years left for holding the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Badarpur-Faridabad corridor, which was meant to provide a faster link for visitors to reach Agra, is now stuck in limbo. The reason: Badarpur Police Station has come on its way.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) requires land for making a clover leaf of the six-lane elevated corridor for signal free movement at the T-junction where Mehrauli Badarpur road meets Mathura Road. To build the leaf, which will be similar to one at the AIIMS and Dhaula Kuan, the police station building needs to be relocated. This realisation has, however, sunk in late with the civic agencies.

Pushing the panic button, the NHAI officials have clearly told the Delhi government that if the approval is not given within 15 to 30 days then the project will miss its deadline and won’t be ready for before the Commonwealth Games.

The government is now frantically trying to find an alternate plot to house the police station. Delhi Police has identified a land which is a little away from the existing police station and also falls on Mathura Road. “The problem is that that the suggested plot is not a Gram Sabha land. It falls in unauthorised colony which has been ear-marked for regularisation and the acquisition is problematic,” said a senior official of Delhi government. The police have said that they will shift out if an alternate land is given and is also mulling over renting out some premises to accommodate the station.

From the existing 2.5 acre premises, the police station has been operating since 1978. The Detailed Project Report of the Badarpur-Faridabad corridor was completed in 2004 and NHAI had clearly mentioned relocation of the police station in the report. This was followed by several step-by-step procedures (see dateline) and Delhi Police was informed about relocation of its station on November 12, 2008.

However, no decision on this issue was taken. “There are several issues which are bogging down the project, including shifting of the police station. I have constituted a committee of all the concerned officials and have asked them to file a report within two weeks,” said Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta. The cabinet secretariat has told the government to sort out the issue immediately.

Delhi Police's dog squad to get more canines ahead of CWG

The Delhi Police is strengthening its canine squad to meet the security challenges thrown out by the 2010 Commonwealth Games by increasing its number to over 100 before the sporting extravaganza.

The city police is planning to buy 75 more pups for the squad in the coming months which would help the force to increase the number of canines in the squad to over 100 from existing 47 ahead of the 2010 Games.

The pups which would be bought will be in the age group of two to six months and it would take at least an year to train them, a senior police official said.

The increase in the number would ease the pressure on the existing "overworked" squad which has attended to 12,429 calls last year, which included 709 tracking calls and 11,009 explosives calls besides performing anti-sabotage checks during several VVIP functions and visits.

The move to strengthen the squad comes in the backdrop of the 2010 Games, increased workload due to addition of new police districts and terrorist threat perception.

"There is a lot of pressure on the squad. We have just 47 canines in the squad now and some of them will retire soon. We need more canines in the squad to meet the challenges. So we are buying more," the official said, adding "before the Games, we plan to have 104 dogs in the squad."

The Centaur Plan: Raise it for Games, then raze it for runway

The Centaur Hotel near IGI Airport is all set for a face lift as part of the 2010 Commonwealth Games plan — only to be bulldozed a year or two after the nine-day event, as part of the airport renovation plan.

The plan to upgrade the hotel had found favor in a Parliamentary Standing Committee report presented last December. The panel on transport, tourism and culture had said, “The committee recommends that measures should be taken by the government to improve performance of the hotel with that of other luxury hotels in Delhi.”

Airport operators Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has, however, indicated that the hotel is on the footprint of the new terminal building as per its masterplan for the IGI Airport. As per the masterplan, the hotel needs to be demolished by 2016, based on traffic triggers.

But the current traffic growth, in comparison with the masterplan projections, may necessitate the hotel’s removal possibly as early as 2011 or 2012.

“We were initially told that the hotel was in the way of the airport expansion plan and may have to be pulled down and relocated,” Tanvir Haziq, senior vice-president, Hotel Corporation of India (HCI), said. “But DIAL has informed us that the demolition plan falls under the second phase of airport expansion and will not be taken up before 2012.”

Sources said HCI, which runs the five-star hotel, has already sent a proposal to the government for renovating the property at a cost of Rs 35.15 crore. Government sources said the proposal is under examination, particularly after DIAL’s proposal for handing over the hotel by 2011-12 for the airport expansion programme.

Haziq said the HCI Board has sanctioned Rs 8 crore, and 127 rooms have already been renovated with the money. “The health club and other works have now been taken up,” Haziq said.

The HCI contends that three years is sufficient time to recover the costs. “We have calculated that Rs 8 crore spent on renovation will be recovered in three years. The hotel, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, is already doing quite well and should be allowed to maintain its glory,” Haziq said.

Being an airport hotel, the 376-room hotel has an average occupancy of 50 to 60 per cent at all times,” Haziq said. “At times of fog or other delays, the occupancy goes up to 110 per cent.”

DIAL — a joint venture company comprising the Bangalore-based GMR Group, Airports Authority of India, Fraport, Malaysian Airport and India Development Fund — has indicated that the hotel falls on the footprint of the under-construction terminal, T3.

Australia laughs off New Delhi to Melbourne Commonwealth Games shift rumours

Australian officials have laughed off suggestions Melbourne is on standby to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games amid concerns over India's preparations to stage the event.

Reports suggest Delhi organizers are struggling with numerous issues ahead of the scheduled opening ceremony on October 3, involving venue construction, broadcasting, security and accommodation among other things.

The possibility of Melbourne, host of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, stepping in again next year has been mooted with the event now just over 18 months away.

But it was news to Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) chief executive Perry Crosswhite. "That's all very interesting because we've never been asked that or even had it indicated to us," Crosswhite told AAP on Wednesday. "I talked to (former Melbourne Commonwealth Games Minister) Justin Madden about it yesterday and he said it would be almost impossible for Melbourne to do it anyway.

"The only time you've had a Games move was the 1976 Winter Olympics when (Denver) couldn't hold them (over a funding issue) and Innsbruck held them again, but in those days the Olympics was probably a thousand athletes.

"It just wouldn't happen unless there was a security issue, when they'd probably just be postponed rather than move them somewhere else. "I just chuckle at those things because it's just not going to happen."

Crosswhite is remaining hopeful India's vast resources and huge population can make the event in Delhi a success.

The global financial crisis and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November last year have impacted upon confidence in the country to stage a successful Games.

India are also minnows when it comes to hosting international multi-sport events, the last time being when they held the Asian Games in 1982.

But the ACGA is keeping the faith, believing Delhi just needs to ensure experienced heads are pulling the strings.

"Absolutely there's concerns. But more of the concern is just putting people in place to manage and run the Games," Crosswhite said. "The venues and village and all that is just money and people and they've got plenty of people and probably plenty of money.

"It's probably just a body of knowledge of how you manage the Games and those things (that's required). You either get people from overseas or you do a very fast training program or a combination of both.

"That's the area the Commonwealth Games Federation is really encouraging the Indians to do. These events don't just happen."

The ACGA was informed in November last year that venues were behind schedule, but it is hardly a unique issue.

The same problem occurred during preparations for the Athens 2004 and Sydney 2000 Olympics, plus the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

The ACGA's latest information is most venues will be finished by December this year. Crosswhite also feels India is well-placed to deal with the current financial crisis.

"There are concerns, but then again you've got a billion people and a huge economy in India, so if they couldn't absorb it I don't know who could," he said.

Crosswhite will head to Delhi in April for an update on preparations.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Are we ready for 2010 Commonwealth Games

The 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi are just over a year away. The event is not only important for the development of sports in the country, but also a chance for us to prove to the world that India is capable of successfully organizing a world class event, even in times of global problems like terrorism and the economic gloom.

For the past few months, some sections have been making a hue and cry over the preparations of the Games, which according to them are lagging well behind schedule and may not be complete in time for the mega event. We decided to visit the Commonwealth Games Village being readied for the 2010 Games to get a first-hand account of the ground reality.

Our first stop was the Commonwealth Games Village site being constructed near the famous Akshardham Temple in east Delhi. The village is the place where thousands of athletes coming to the capital will have residential facilities in around 1,160 flats. The dining facilities will be arranged in a separately constructed hall. Another site being built nearby will take care of the practice and recreational needs of the visitors.

Entering the village, especially without any prior intimation to the authorities of our visit, was like trying to penetrate into a fortress. There was an unprecedented level of security around the whole complex, not because the threat of a terror strike but as we discovered later, because the authorities were afraid that all the media wanted to do was to tarnish their image and highlight delays and faults in the construction process.

After a lot of convincing that we were not here for what they feared, we were allowed to get in but with strict instructions that photography was not allowed inside (it was for security reasons, is what they told us). First, we decided to head towards the residential complex. Construction was in full swing and by the look of it, the complex should be ready as per plans if there is no further delay due to unavoidable circumstances. Some of the people at the site told us that the construction company in charge was facing some problem due to lack of funds and has sought help from government authorities.

However, no official was available at the site for a reaction.

Next we headed for the practice venue where we hoped to meet some DDA (Delhi Development Authority) officials and get some reactions and dates regarding the planned and expected completion of the mammoth project.

We were again stopped at the gate by the security personnel, who were a bit reluctant to let us in, especially after having seen a camera in our hands. However, after another round of arguing and convincing that we had got so used to by now, he finally allowed us in but on condition that we will have to speak to the officials before even trying to look at the construction site. On our way to meeting the officials we decided to have a sneak peek at the construction site and apart from a few workers and trucks; things did not look very encouraging with no visible structures in place.

The practice venue is supposed to have facilities such as an Olympics size swimming pool, an athletics track and a world-class fitness center, apart from other facilities for sports such as weightlifting and wrestling. The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to take place in October 2010 and the completion date for the entire complex has been put at March-April in the same year.

The officials present at the site tried to convince us that the work was on course for completion at the stipulated time and that there will be no compromise with the pre-determined plan. The work, according to them, had started here in July 2008 and that there will be visible structures at the site in another six months, as all the basic work of laying the foundations has been completed.

We were told that 1,200 tons of steel had already been used in the construction process. A DDA official, though reluctantly and on condition of anonymity, did admit that the work was a little behind schedule but the admittance was backed by confidence that there was still more than a year left before the completion deadline and that things will be flawless by then.

He then showed us the exact location of the swimming pool site as well as other places where, according to the authorities, the structures will ‘magically’ start to appear in the next few months. The foundations we saw were already in place as he had told us, but there were very few signs that could lead us into believing the rather desolate looking place will actually start appearing like something that the model of the site present at the location looked like.

Final verdict: If you believe the officials, we can be rest assured that the 2010 Commonwealth Games will turn out to be a highly successful event and a show of strength by India, but if you believe your eyes, we will need a lot more than just a bit of divine intervention.

New Budgetary Allocation of Rs 964.42 cr for 2010 Commonwealth Games

The government in its interim budget for 2009-10 on Monday allocated a sum of Rs 964.42 crore for the 2010 Commonwealth Games scheduled in the capital.

The budgetary allocation would cover stadia renovation, players' training and upgradation venues, among other things.

A total outlay of Rs 1,764 crore has been allotted this year for sports and youth affairs, compared to Rs 1,593 in 2008-09.

Of the Rs 1,764 crore, Rs 1,490 has been earmarked as plan expenditure, while the rest is non-plan expenditure. Of the total amount allocated for 2010 Games, Rs 600 crore has been earmarked for Sports Authority of India's stadia renovation alone, while Rs 100 crore has been allotted for preparation of teams.

Rs 60 crore has been allocated for upgradation/creation of venues while Rs 194.42 crore has been approved for overlays at SAI, All India Tennis Association and the Indian Olympic Association.

Apart from the amount earmarked for the 2010 Games, the government has also allotted Rs 16.75 crore for strengthening anti-doping measures.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Watching 2010 CWG on TV - You Must Be Joking

Watching 2010 CWG on TVHouseholds with cable and satellite facilities can also receive HD signals through set-top boxes, but HD-enabled TV sets would still be required for clear and sharp images

Overzealousness, coupled with short-sightedness on the part of government officials looking after 2010 Commonwealth Games preparations may leave millions of Indian viewers tuning their TV sets for not-yet-available High Definition (HD) format airing of the much-awaited event.

A simple logic that the country has very few such TV sets in the country and since they are manufactured abroad, it is too costly an affair to import them for the Indian middle- class seems to have skipped the consideration of the policy- makers for the historic event.

Apart from that, even the government’s transmission infrastructure completely lacks in supporting HD-enabled broadcast, as most of Doordarshan’s transmitters are analog- based, thus rendering this type of telecast a near- impossibility, according to a senior DD official.

“The cost of these sets are in the range of Rs40,000 to Rs50,000 and they are not currently available in the country. Besides, as of now there is no policy to enable production of HD-enabled TV sets here,” the official said.

The Ministry for Information and Broadcasting has, meanwhile, sought Cabinet’s approval for setting up studios in Chennai and Kolkata, which would produce programmes in the HD format.

“Currently, we have one such studio each in Delhi and Mumbai, which are capable of producing programmes in HD format,“ the official said.

In order to broadcast Commonwealth Games, signals will have to be aired in HD format. “Countries like Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada, where HD format is in use, would be the right holders for the Games.

“HD signals can be converted to standard definition signals for Indian viewers. But the television sets need to be HD format-enabled for receiving these signals,” the official added.

Households with cable and satellite facilities can also receive HD signals through set-top boxes, but HD-enabled TV sets would still be required for clear and sharp images and true to life 3-D pictures, he stressed.

As for the production of such TV sets in India, it can take off in large numbers only if more HD-enabled studios come up in the four metros and the number of programmes produced in HD format increases, which at the moment seems long way off.

Accommodation Arrangement might get worse during CWG

Even as India is gearing up to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Ministry of Tourism is not pumping its fists in triumph. It says the Delhi Development Authority, the government of Haryana, and the UP government may not keep their promises on the hospitality front.

Of the 40,000 rooms originally required for the Commonwealth Games, it was estimated that Delhi had about 10,000 rooms. For the construction of the remaining 30,000 rooms, there was an auction, the Delhi Development Authority had committed to build 6,000 hotel rooms but now says only 2,000 can be built before the deadline. Similarly, the UP government has scaled back its original target of 7,000 rooms to about 2,000 while the Haryana government also said only 5,000 rooms would be built instead of the promised 9,000.

The tally: the DDA and the Haryana and UP governments can, between them, only build 9,000 rooms against the committed 22,000 rooms.

The Secretary of Tourism Surjit Banerjee, when contacted, said the authorities, to compensate for the shortfall, have come up with new ideas: the DDA would now come up with three-star housing schemes at Jasola and Vasant Kunj and would build about 4,500 rooms by March 2010.

"Hoteliers need a total of 46 clearances, 23 at state level, while remaining 23 at central level, before they can start construction - we are looking at a single window clearance," Banerjee added.

The ITDC would in charge of catering, furnishing and servicing those rooms. The registered and non-registered guest houses in Delhi would give another 15,000 rooms by 2010.

The Delhi government will also start a new ‘Bed and Breakfast’ scheme that will bring about 3,00 rooms.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism is also asking that the Ministry of Urban Development to make some policy changes to help put the projects on the fast track. And if all goes well, the Ministry of Tourism may escape with just a few scrapes Delhi to be projected in ‘better manner’ during 2010 Commonwealth Games Delhi to be projected in ‘better manner’ during 2010 GamesDelhi to be projected in ‘better manner’ during 2010 Gamesand bruises.

Delhi to be projected in a better manner during 2010 Games

Chief Minister Sheila Dixit asked tourism officials to take steps to project the capital ‘in a better manner’ during the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held here.

‘There must be a single goal to project Delhi in a better manner during the Commonwealth Games so that tourists and players could have a feel of their memorable stay,’ Dikshit stated.

The directions to the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC) were given at a review meeting of the departments of tourism, art and culture and archaeology.

The chief minister also asked officials to upgrade existing Delhi Haats, and arrange for better tourist buses, modern information kiosks and special packages for tourists to visit Jaipur and Agra.

‘Delhi must have a look of a lively city. A number of parks have been selected where live cultural performances will be organised to disseminate the concept of unity in diversity of our country,’ Dikshit added.

She said the information and broadcasting ministry was requested to provide best feature films to enable the city to screen them in selected cinema halls during the Games.

An official statement said the Delhi government would arrange for tourist maps at the airport, railway stations, bus terminals and Metro stations and install steel plaques at the Heritage sites for visitors. Special badges are planned to be issued to taxi and auto rickshaw drivers.

2010 Commonwealth Games preparation on Schedule

Commonwealth Games preparation on Schedule - Sport's Minister M.S Gill

Sports Minister MS Gill today said that the preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games were in full swing and the facilities would be ready well before the multi-sporting extravaganza begins. Addressing a news conference here, Gill said the entire infrastructure would be ready by March next year.

"We have been monitoring the progress in regular intervals. The construction of infrastructure will be completed by March 2009,"he said.

Gill said the government has launched training programmes for medal prospects as India would aim to produce a good show.

"Under this scheme in all the 17 disciplines of the Commonwealth Games continuous training is being imparted in 305 days in a year in various training camps across the country. Coaches, both national and foreign, have been engaged for this,"he said.

The minister said 20 separate locations have been identified to start hostels for sportspersons and Rs. 170 crore will be spent on it.

He said the food allowance for Indian sportspersons will be hiked substantially.

A wrestling hub is being set up in Sonepat, Gill said.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

No pedal pushers for Games

No pedal pushers for GamesForget getting ready for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the faction-ridden Cycling Federation of India (CFI) is yet to select a core group of riders for the quadrennial showpiece the Capital will host.

Even as the Games’ stakeholders get into overdrive sprucing up the city, preparing athletes and world-class infrastructure, absolutely nothing has been done at the ground level to prepare cyclists for the showpiece event, expected to cost the country in excess of Rs 1,000 crores. “We have selected the core group of athletes in each and every discipline long time back but cycling has become a real problem for us,” conceded a senior Sports Ministry official.

“The CFI is mired in litigations. We always hit a dead end whenever we sit down to select the core group of 50-60 cyclists. How can we chalk out a programme when we don’t have records, list of cyclists, their performance etc? Here we are building a velodrome worth crores and we don’t even have the list of cyclists who would be competing in the Games,” the official said.

“There are so many things to be done, like chalking out a programme for them, arranging foreign coaches, sending them on exposure trips, holding camps, assessing their performance etc. It’s a sad situation,” the official said.

It is learnt the government has earmarked Rs 42 crores for training cyclists but there are no takers. Sources said that the Ministry had stopped the funding and grants of the CFI and competitions organised by it are not recognised.

The Ministry has approached the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for redressal. “Since they are logged in a dispute, things cannot stop. We have asked the IOA to form an ad-hoc committee or send their representatives for the meetings,” said Sport Ministry’s joint-secretary I. Sriniwas. “There are provisions in the IOA to resolve the issues. Once they are able to tell us in a firm manner, we will start the process,” he said.

The root of the problem is the litigation between S.S. Dhindsa, ‘former’ CFI president and MP, and Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, former Agriculture Minister of Haryana. Sandhu had ‘won’ the elections in April last year but Dhindsa filed a petition in court seeking stay.

While Dhindsa, who has served as CFI president for three terms, couldn’t be contacted, the vice-president in Sandhu’s group, S.K. Sharma, said his team had won the elections fair and square and should be heading the CFI. “The Ministry and the IOA should intervene and restore our position. Or, the least the IOA can do is form an ad-hoc panel. At least the process should start,” he said.

Siri Fort Games site: SC ropes in Correa

Siri Fort Games siteThe fate of the basketball and squash courts for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, built by cutting down a large number of trees in the Siri Fort forest area, hangs in balance with the Supreme Court on Friday seeking expert view on its feasibility and environmental damage control methodology.

Renowned architect Charles Correa, who had put in his papers last February as chairperson of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission refusing to be a rubber stamp for the government on clearance to various Commonwealth Games related projects, was appointed by the Superme Court to inspect the controversial sports facility for CWG in the Siri Fort forest area.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia entrusted Correa with the task of inspecting the basketball and squash court facilities and suggest alternatives or allowing the sports facility to remain there with minimum damage to environment.

The newly-built complex was red flagged by the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which had termed the site unsuitable and castigated the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for cutting down as many as 891 trees without taking prior clearance from the authorities and the SC.

CEC had suggested demolition of the complex, but keeping in view the constraint of time given the fact that the prestigious games are just 20 months away, it had recommended imposition of Rs 5 crore fine on DDA for utilization in afforestation activities.

On Friday, the Bench accepted amicus curiae Harish Salve's suggestion for entrusting the inspection task to 79-year-old Correa while asking him to give his report within three weeks. Correa, who studied architecture at the University of Michigan and at MIT, is known for his splendid work in designing the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at Sabarmati Ashram, Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, and the Madhya Pradesh State
Assembly building.

Chief Minister admits unhappiness with CWG preparations

Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said she was not happy with the preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games but was confident that everything would be ready in time.

She said: “There are some (projects) which are behind. “There are some which are, you know, beyond the schedule. “I would not say that I am totally satisfied, but I would not say that I am nervous.”

Dikshit’s comments followed the story on ‘ Insidethegames ‘ on February 3rd that the Games have been hit by a new legal dispute after the Delhi Delivery Authority (DDA) did not respond in a time to a request from India’s Supreme Court that they had broken the country’s environmental laws.

There are also new fears that there will not be enough accommodation for overseas visitors after plans to build six new hotels were scrapped because of the current worldwide economic crisis.

There are also long-time concerns over the pace of building work, including over the velodrome, and security following the Mumbai massacre in November.

But Dikshit, elected for a record third consecutive term last month as New Delhi’s Minister, remains confident that she will oversee a successful event. She said: “I think everybody is trying to do their best. “It’s about India’s prestige.”

The Games, seen as a forerunner to a bid from New Delhi to host the 2020 Olympics, are due to take place in October 2010. Dikshit said: “All things will be in place before the Games.”

35th National Games to assess athletes ahead of CWG: Kalmadi

35th National GamesThe 35th National Games to be held in Kerala from May 1 to 14 next year would provide an opportunity to assess the performance of athletes ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi said on Tuesday.

Around Rs 600 crore would be spent for the meet. The centre had been requested to release at least half the amount, Kalmadi told reporters here, adding the Games would be a prelude to the Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in October next year in New Delhi.

Kalmadi, who earlier attended a review meeting of the National Games organising committee along with state Sports Minister M Vijayakumar here, said 17 committees at the state level had been planned under ministers for the successful conduct of the games to be held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kollam and Kozhikode.

Alternative venues have been fixed in case some venues were not available, he said.

The Karyavattam campus of Kerala University here would be the venue for the opening and closing ceremony. Indoor stadium campus at Vattiyoorkavu and a renovated Waterworks Swimming Pool would be the venues for the games in the capital.

The hockey turf and indoor stadium at Kollam would also be made available for the event. In Kochi, shooting complex and indoor stadium would be used.

NDMC gears up for 2010 Commonwealth Games

Taking a slew of measures to strengthen security, the NDMC is planning to impart commando training to firefighters and install CCTVs in various places including the 2010 Commonwealth Games stadia.

The New Delhi Municipal Council will also set up its own Disaster Management Centre and and procure a disaster response vehicle equipped with latest firefighting technology. "Under capacity-building programme, special training for staff in rescue, firefighting and communication by National Civil Defence College, Nagpur and commando training for firemen by Delhi police are to be taken up," NDMC Chairman, Parimal Rai told reporters here.

"We feel that some firemen who are well-built can be selected for commando training so that they can offer some initial resistance (during such incidents)," Rai said. He said as part of security review exercise, work has been awarded for installing CCTVs in major offices of NDMC besides in various stadia for the 2010 Games and the NDCC-Phase II complex that will work as the headquarters of the Games Secretariat.

The NDCC building will be given on Rs 2300 per sq ft rent to the Secretariat till April 2011, Rai added. "We also intend to set up a disaster management centre in New Delhi. The Ministry of Urban Development has been asked to provide the land for the purpose," he said.

What to feed the athletes in 2010 CWG

2010 CWGIn the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese Government had monitored food processing units through the Global Positioning System.

The purpose was to ensure that the food delivered to visitors and athletes was hygienic and maintained international standards.

For the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Delhi government may not have that hi-tech a solution, but it intends to reach that goal all the same.

To this end, the government has advised the Directorate of Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) to prepare an action plan.

In anticipation of the Games, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India has already rolled out its “Safe Food, Tasty Food” plan, which aims to upgrade the standard of eateries in Delhi. Sources in the PFA, however, confirmed that the action plan will go further in its bid to introduce “international standards and implement proper guidelines”.

“We have invited agencies with an expertise in this field to provide guidance,” said Mohan Lal, Commissioner of food safety at the PFA. And the qualifying criterion for the agencies is that they should have experience in organising food safety programmes for major sporting events like the Olympics or Cricket world cup.

“In many cases, the food we eat with such ease here may not suit visitors, and we need to take these factors into account,” Lal pointed out.

“We also hope to implement the Codex guidelines widely.” The Codex guidelines are framed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation of the United Nations to ensure safe food practices.

Under the draft guidelines for the action plan, the PFA has laid down a variety of objectives.

Among the most interesting is a proposal to introduce “mobile food testing vehicles” which will carry out on-the-spot tests for all contaminants and pathogens. Another suggests forming a “regulating/controlling authority for ensuring food safety in Delhi” in view of the requirements for the Games.

These and other suggestions are laid down in detail in the Expression of Interest invited by the PFA. “It is a set of objectives that we would like the agency chosen to prepare the action plan to follow,” said a senior PFA official.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Court orders new look at 2010 Games venue

Court orders new look at 2010 Games venueThe Supreme Court on Friday appointed eminent architect and town planner Charles Correa to examine the feasibility of construction of basketball and squash courts for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the Capital’s Siri Fort area and submit a report in three weeks.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S. H. Kapadia passed the order after amicus curiae Harish Salve expressed concern at damage caused to the environment due to destruction of a large number of trees in the area to facilitate construction of the sports complex.

The Bench asked the expert committee to examine the project in its totality and see whether the sports complex could be re-located in another area; if not, to what extent the damage to environment could be minimised and whether the design could be changed in view of security concerns expressed by many over proposed underground parking.

Justice Pasayat observed, “Our main concern is to explore the possibility of having the project at the same site without further damage to the forest and whether something could be done to salvage the loss.”

The Court in April last year had restrained the Delhi Development Authority from cutting trees in the area after Mr. Salve brought to its notice that 836 trees were cut and destroyed overnight by the DDA under the directions of the Commonwealth Games Authority for construction of a 30,000 square metres sports complex.

Mr. Salve said the DDA did not approach the apex court for clearance of the project as was done in the case of Talkatora Stadium where it was given the go-ahead for renovation of the swimming pool stadium that needed felling of trees. He said indiscriminate felling of trees would damage the environment in the city and those responsible for it must be penalised: a stern message had to be given to those responsible for ignoring the laws and disturbing the eco-sensitive Siri Fort forest area. He wanted the project to be re-located to the Yamuna area where the Games Village is coming up.

Additional Solicitor-General Amarendra Saran said necessary permission had been obtained before cutting the trees and compensatory tree planting had been done. He said the Government was already working against the deadline for the Commonwealth Games and “we cannot stop the Games. We are building an international standards sports stadium in that area. Several alternative suggestions were considered and only thereafter this area was selected”.

Court asks Correa if 2010 Games project can be shifted

Court asks Correa if 2010 Games project can be shiftedThe Supreme Court Friday requested renowned architect and town planner Charles Correa to examine if a badminton and squash court being built in south Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth games could be relocated to save trees.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan requested the former Delhi Urban Arts Commission chairman to examine the feasibility of relocating the badminton and squash court while examining the objections to the project, raised by the court-appointed Centrally Empowered Committee.

The court’s panel objected to the Rs.1.50 billion project largely because it would involve large-scale felling of trees and denuding the area around the Siri Fort Indoor stadium complex of its green lungs.

The panel has also objected to the project as it accompanied construction of a 25,000 square-metre underground parking lot that, the police said, cannot be allowed to be used during the games owing to the security concerns.

Opposing the police plea, senior counsel Harish Salve, assisting the court and representing the panel, said the parking lot looks set to be eventually used for commercial purposes after the games.

Salve also questioned the felling of hundreds of trees in the area to build the badminton court, and said the girth of many trees ranges from 3 feet to ten feet.

Lamenting the hacking of the trees, Salve said barely a few years ago the forest was so dense in the area that even during the bright summer noon, sunrays would not reach the earth.

The apex court bench, which also included Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice J.M. Panchal, sought Correa’s help in examining the feasibility of relocating the badminton and squash courts ignoring the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee’s contentions.

“It is not possible to shift and develop an alternate venue at some other place at this stage when the Games are only 20 months away,” said the games organising committee in its affidavit.

It added that “a considerable amount of work has already been completed and as per the laid-down target, the work is required to to be completed by Dec 31, 2009.”

“The delay resulting from shifting(of the badminton and squash court) may even result in cancellation of the Games,” said the affidavit.

Focus On Role of Private Players In CWG-2010

Focus On Role of Private Players In CWG-2010The businesses of the youth of the trade unions and the minister of sports Mani Shankar Aiyar underlined the need for contribution of private sector in the fields of the rights, patronages, labelling, the authorization, the concessions and the housing of television to make the Commonwealth next Ranges-2010 to financially viable Delhi.

To speak with one on conference preparing with Commonwealth Games 2010: The occasions and the role for businesses organized by PHDCCI Tuesday, Mr. Aiyar indicated that during Manchester CWG-2002 all the expenditure was about Rs. 1.100 crores according to the rate of exchange in force out which 43 percent were recovered commercial sources, in particular of patronages and labeling.

The Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi took into account to cost India Rs. 7.000 crores for the development of infrastructure, the formation and the control of the event, the minister indicated that the government awaits with interest the contribution of private sector of Rs. 3.000 in Rs. 4.000 crores.

Mr. Aiyar said that the value in kind (VIK) was one contributing principal towards Manchester CWG and PHDCCI recommended to help to determine contributing them of VIK for CWG-2010. He said that principal secretary Sports Madhukar Gupta would direct the work group installed by PHDCCI for this purpose and the government had taken the initiative to form Panchayat Yuva Khel Abhiyan in which Rs 1.000 crores would be spent every year. He also said that CWG-2010 would need at least 20.000 volunteers to return the mega-event been successful.

The minister as a chief Sheila Dikshit of Delhi said that the principal sporting event provided an occasion to improve the city. The development of infrastructure comprising the construction of the over flights, of the victories in an armchair, hotel rooms and signage would be taken with public and deprived association.

To declare that problems concerning transport, water and electricity is examined by the government of Delhi, she said to improve transport, the system of bus of high capacity was presented and the monorail is considered. Moreover, by the services of subway and bus will be also increased to supply with the needs for Delhi in 2010. Moreover, in the stages, she said, of the television sets of big screen would be placed so that people could also see the plays of the outside of the arena.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Despite impending demolition, Centaur to get facelift

Despite impending demolition, Centaur to get faceliftCentaur, the state-owned hotel located near the Delhi airport, will be given a Rs 416.5-million facelift even though it will be demolished after the 2010 Commonwealth Games, official sources said. The sources said the board of the Hotel Corp of India (HCI), which runs the five-star hotel, was in the process of finalising a proposal to pump in Rs 35.15 Crore (Rs 351.5 million) to add more rooms to accommodate the anticipated tourist inflow during the Delhi Games next year.

In fact, the board of HCI, a wholly-owned arm of the National Aviation Co of India that also operates the national carrier Air India, had early last year approved a Rs 6.5 Crore (Rs 65 million) capital expenditure for renovating Centaur. All this has made the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture sceptical. It has now raised apprehensions over the proposal and wants the Civil Aviation Ministry to ensure that the expenditure does not go waste.

Any amount of expenditure for developing Centaur at this stage 'must serve the purpose' as 'the hotel is waiting to be bulldozed in view of the master plan of Indira Gandhi International Airport as planned by Delhi International Airport Ltd', the committee said in a recent report.

DIAL - a consortium comprising infrastructure developers GMR of Bengaluru, Fraport AG of Germany and Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad, as well as the national airports operator, Airports Authority of India - has indicated that the hotel falls on the footprint of the new terminal T3 that is under construction. The first phase of the terminal is scheduled to be completed by 2010, and DIAL says the hotel needed to be demolished for further extension.

Tips for Visitors for Delhi Commonwealth Games

Tips for Visitors for Delhi Commonwealth GamesIf you are planning to come to the city of Delhi in India during 2010 commonwealth games, then it is important to know the facilities of the local transportation available in Delhi. Majority of the people in Delhi use local transport facilities to commute from one place to another. The availability of different modes and means of transportation system has added to their convenience of traveling.

Some of the common modes of transport which are mostly used in the city range from taxis and buses to the trains.


1. Transport in Delhi

Taxis

For the visitors to the Delhi commonwealth games, taxis would serve as a convenient transport. Most of the taxis in Delhi are run by the tourism ministry of India. There are private operators too. You can avail taxis for traveling to the local sites as well as for long distances. To hire a taxi, you need to access the taxi stand or seek the help of the taxi service provider by telephone. Just remember that taxi journey proves little expensive.

Buses

Bus services can be availed at cheap rates. Boasting one of the biggest bus networking systems in India, Delhi provides you an access to more than 2000 public buses. Some of the buses are run by private operators and some of them are operated by Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).

The city has also introduced CNG buses. These are environmental friendly.

RTVs or Rural Transport Vehicles

You can also avail the services of the rural transport vehicles. But these ply on fewer routes only.

Auto Rickshaws

Costly than buses and cheaper to taxis, the auto rickshaw services are easily available. However, you need to be little careful while going for this service. Many auto drivers do not agree to follow meters. If this happens, you are recommended to bargain a little for fare in advance.

Metro Train

This is a newly developed transport mode of the city. Started out in 2002, the metro train service has already become popular with the locals and has been acclaimed as one of the topnotch rapid transit systems in Asia. The traveling fares are moderate. This service enables you to travel across about 59 stations of the city.

For your convenience, route maps and rate charts have been made available at the Metro Stations.

Local Trains

Known to be the cheapest transport mode in Delhi, the local trains are best to avail to save travel time. Some of the major railway stations in Delhi are Old Delhi, New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Shahdara, Shakur Basti, Okhla, Pragati Maidan and Tilak Bridge.

Apart from transport, the other travel tips for visitors traveling to Delhi for Commonwealth games comprise money exchange facility and sightseeing spots that are worth visiting.

2. Money Exchange facility in Delhi

Numerous money exchange kiosks are found in Delhi. However, it is always better to avail services of the kiosks which are run by government.

The exchange rates would differ from one kiosk to another. So do opt for bargaining. You will find these kiosks near railway stations and airports. Besides, several hotels of different categories also provide in-house money exchange facilities.

3. Tourist Attractions in Delhi

An experience of traveling during Delhi commonwealth will become exciting and memorable, if you can take some time out to explore the popular sightseeing spots of the city. Some of the noted hot spots in Delhi are the India Gate, the Qutab Minar, the Red Fort, the Raj Ghat and the Lotus Temple or the Baha'i Temple.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Commonwealth Game 2010 a Historical Event

Commonwealth Game 2010Commonwealth is an organization of independent sovereign states with different faiths, cultures, races, languages and traditions in the world. The Commonwealth Games is a sports event which is held once every four years. It is managed by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). The Commonwealth India 2010 or Commonwealth Games 2010 will be held in New Delhi.

About 14 million people will be hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010. India will host Commonwealth Game for the first time. And Asia will host this event for the second time after the Commonwealth Game 1998 in Kuala Lumpur. Delhi became the host for the Commonwealth 2010 Games by defeating the Canadian city of Hamilton by 46 votes. This voting was done at CGF General Assembly in Montego Bay in November 2003.

Delhi, the capital city of India, is rich in history and culture. Located on the western end of the Gangetic Plain, this state is bordered by Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The old district of the state popularly known as Old Delhi was the capital of Muslim India during the 18th century.

Many mosques and historic sites were built in this part of Delhi during the reign of the Muslim rulers. Later on, museums to commemorate their victories were built here. New Delhi was created by the British Raj. The majestic government buildings and tree lined avenues are worth visiting.

In order to attend the Commonwealth India 2010, you will have to be at Delhi from 3 - 14 October 2010 and witness the special event, right from the Opening to the Closing Ceremonies. October is a favorable time to visit Delhi as the temperature ranges from minimum 17.2 degrees centigrade to maximum 31.3 degrees centigrade. Humidity during this time of the year ranges from 31 to 78% for the October and November months.

The Commonwealth Game 2010 will be held in the Delhi Games Village, located at the city center. It will be constructed as a low rise medium development on a 40 acre site and can accommodate 8,500 athletes and officials. Both the existing and new stadium will serve as the venue for a range of sports like:

  • Archery
  • Aquatics
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Boxing
  • Cycling
  • Gymnastics
  • Hockey
  • Lawn Bowls
  • Netball
  • Rugby 7s
  • Shooting
  • Squash
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

Apart from this, there will be 15 special events for the elite disabled athletes which will be contested across 4 Para-Sports like Athletics, Swimming, Power lifting and Table Tennis.

Govt clears infra projects worth Rs 34,000 crore

Govt clears infra projectsIn a major push to the infrastructure sector, the Cabinet on Wednesday cleared projects worth around Rs 34,000 crore, including the Chennai Metro project.

Apart from that, foreign direct investment (FDI) worth Rs 957 crore in Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd, which is currently developing the Krishnapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh, was also approved.

The Union Cabinet yesterday gave its approval to Phase Iof the Chennai Metro project, covering a length of around 45 km. The total cost of the first phase has been estimated at Rs 14,600 crore. On the lines of Delhi Metro, this project will be entirely funded by the Centre and Tamil Nadu government on 50:50 basis.

The Cabinet also approved the Delhi Metro Railways (Amendment) Bill, 2009, to amend the Delhi Metro (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002, and the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978. “The requirement to move this Bill arose because without a proper legal framework the construction work of the extension to Gurgaon and Noida can be stalled any time or legally challenged.

Since these extensions are to be completed before the Commonwealth Games, 2010, there is an urgency to provide an appropriate legal cover for these extensions,” said an official statement.

Feeney to conduct two-week national camp for archers

archersThe Indian compound archers will begin training for 2010 Commowealth Games with a two-week national camp under Australian coach Peter Feeney who has been roped in by the Archery Association of India (AAI) ahead of the Delhi meet.

Feeney will land here tomorrow evening and the camp will start from Sunday.

The Aussie had approached the AAI after the Indian Federation invited applications for the coach's position on the FITA (International Archery Federation) website.

The camp, which will be held at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Eastern India Centre at Salt Lake, will begin with 15 men and 15 women in the compound section.

The SAI Eastern India nodal centre has been officially declared as the venue of the national camps for archery, lawn bowling and rugby.

The camp for the recurve archers will also be held at the same venue with newly-appointed chief coach Limba Ram scheduled to arrive on Monday.

Confirming the development, AAI secretary general Paresh Nath Mukherjee told PTI, "Feeney will look after the compound section in preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. I am sure his experience will help the Indian compound archers.

"Limba Ram, being the chief coach, will join the camp on the second day when the recurve camp will also begin." The recurve section will have 16 men and 16 women.

A panel of 12 coaches appointed for the Delhi Commonwealth Games will also attend the camp.

The probables :

Men's compound: K Ratan Singh, Birsa Bandiya, S Sridhar, L.Haridas Singh, Arun Sharma, Sonam Pintso, M Chinglen Sana, Bijoy Rai, G Titomash Sharma (all SSCB); KSH Nikon Mangang (Manipur); Abhishek Verma (Delhi); Jayantilal Ninoma (Rajasthan); Palton Hansdah (Jharkhand); Isaiah Sanam (AP); Amrender Singh (Punjab).

Recurve: Tarundeep Rai, W Ranjan Singh Junior, Harish Chand Kerai, MR Tirkey, Bulbul Marandi, N Ravinder, Viswash, K Shiv Shankar and Gurucharan Besra (all SSCB); Jayanta Talukdar, Rajiv Basumatary and Rahul Banerjee (all SPSB), Mangal Singh Champia (Railways), Kapil and Priyank (both UP); Pawan Khalkho (Jharkhand).

Women's compound: Namita Yadav, Jhanu Hansda, Bheigyabati Chanu, Sweety Kumari, Manjudha Soy, Ashrita Kerketta, Niva Kerketta, Sumantala Murmu and Harsha Bharadwaj (all Jharkhand); Saksro Besra (Railways); Anjali Kumari (MP); Mandava Rishitha (AP); Pratibha Rani (CRPF); Gaganjot Kaur (Punjab); Jailaxmi Sarikonda (Maharashtra).

Recurve: Dola Banerjee, L Bombayla Devi, Reena Kumari and Sushma (Railways); Rimil Buiruli, Pratima Boro, Vardhineni Pranitha and Laxmi Rani Majhi (SPSB); Chekrovolu Swuro (Nagaland); Punyaprabha (UP); Belsir Narzary (Assam); Deepka Kumari (Jharkhand); Nisha Tomar (Chandigarh); Bimala Hasda (WB); Mamta Nagi (Punjab); B Lucy Devi (Manipur).

Panel of coaches:

Limba Ram (chief coach), Dharmendra Tiwari, Purnima Mahato, Harinder Singh, D Saiswari Rao, Ravi Shankar, Richpal Singh, RB Tamang, Ch. Lenin, Jiwanjot Singh, Lokesh Chand and B Gunicha Devi.