Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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.