Thursday, June 25, 2009

Smaller Firefighting Vehicles for 2010 Games

Smaller Firefighting Vehicles for 2010 GamesAfter the introduction of motorbikes fitted with fire extinguishers in April, the Delhi Fire Service is now planning to introduce small cars and jeeps fitted with firefighting equipment that will be used for tackling emergency situations during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

As per the authorities, the idea behind using smaller vehicles is to cut down on the time taken by a fire tender to reach its destination. Officials believe smaller vehicles will result in "increasing operational capabilities" of the department and save precious time, as it will allow easier movement even during heavy traffic situations during the Games.

Even when introducing the motorbikes, officials had said the main purpose was to "reduce response time" by deploying them in fire-prone, congested areas like Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Old Delhi and Trans-Yamuna areas.

In May 1999, 57 people died in a fire that broke out in a chemical market in the congested Lal Kuan area - one of the biggest fire calamities witnessed in the Capital. A similar mishap occurred at Swadeshi Market in Sadar Bazar in December 2001.

Fire officials have pointed out that a primary reason for the magnitude and high casualty rate witnessed in these incidents is the inability of bigger fire tenders to reach the spots in time.

"The department is considering using smaller vehicles, like the Maruti Gypsy or small vans, instead of the regular tenders for tackling untoward incidents at or near Games venues," said Chief Fire Officer R C Sharma. "We will take another month or so to take a final decision on the issue," he said.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Keeping an Eye on Games, Public Transport Gets High Boost

With 2010 Commonwealth Games a little more than a year away, improving transportation facilities continued to be high on the government’s agenda. Monday’s budget was indicative of it with a whopping 31% of the total outlay, Rs 3,069 crore, allocated to this sector. Though no new projects were announced, the money was to be used to fund ongoing schemes like construction of Delhi Metro, procurement of 2,500 new DTC buses and building new flyovers, underpasses and rail over-bridges.

In a scenario where the number of vehicles in Delhi was set to cross the 60 lakh mark, the move to encourage public transport would go a long way in easing congestion.

The government announced that work on nine new Delhi Metro corridors was progressing on schedule. All the new lines, which will add another 185 km to the existing network, would be operational by October 2010.

Funds have also been allocated for 2,500 new DTC buses that will hit the roads before March next year. The purchase order for these buses has already been placed. The Union government agreed to partially fund 1,500 more buses for Delhi under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)

In addition to buses, funds have also been set aside for new road infrastructure projects like flyovers, underpasses, rail overbridges and road resurfacing. The construction of flyovers/ROBs is gaining pace at RR Kohli Marg, Shastri Nagar Pushta, Azadpur, BJ Marg-RTR Marg, Africa Avenue, Nelson Mandela Marg, Naraina and underpasses at ITO Chungi. Work on Barapullah Nallah Road and Salimgarh Bypass projects have also started.

Further, an amount of Rs 111.61 crore has been released to MCD for construction of 17 ROBs to be completed before October 2010. Another Rs 80 crore has been released to MCD to develop a modern parking for the new DTC buses.

Delhi Government Allocated New Funds For 2010 CWG Projects

2010 CWG ProjectsCommonwealth Games 2010: Besides Delhi Government Allocations, central government is also assisting in the projects

Delhi government has allocated new chunk of funds in its current fiscal budget, for upcoming 2010 commonwealth games projects. As the construction cost has gone up and many projects are lagging behind schedule, these fresh allocations will help these projects to gain pace and can be completed on time.

To push the completion of all 2010 Commonwealth Games related projects in the capital, Delhi government allocated Rs 2,105 crore for the financial year 2009-2010.

Presenting the budget, Delhi finance minister Dr A K Walia said that this will include Rs 1,000 crore additional Central assistance from the Union government.

Claiming that all the projects would be complete in time, chief minister Sheila Dikshit also said her government is facing no dearth of funds to execute the projects. Walia said that by the end of this year Rs 4,657 crore would have been spent on these projects and so far the central contribution has been Rs 1,750 crore. The total expenditure could touch approximately Rs 6,728 crore.

Earlier in the day, while presenting the budget, Walia claimed that the timely completion would not only contribute to the ‘‘successful organization’’ of the Games but would also ‘‘add assets’’ to the city. He said that the government has appointed consultants to suggest and design the landscapes around the Games venues and also intersections on all major roads connecting the venues.

He added that a polyclinic will be set up at the Games Village by the health department in addition to setting up of a medical facility at each venue and training centre.

The minister also said that the redevelopment of Connaught Place under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission ( JNNURM) that will cost Rs 253 crore has already started. Delhi government had released the first installment of Rs 22 crore last year and for the current fiscal, an outlay of Rs 45 crore has been proposed.

In his please-all budget, Walia also allocated Rs 1,524 crore for urban development, the second highest plan allocation after the transport sector. Central government has approved 15 projects for construction of about 65,000 flats worth Rs 1,815 crore as part of Rajiv Rattan Awas Yojna, under JNNURM. He said that about 8,000 flats are ready for allotment.

Six New Delhi Metro Routes Proposed

Delhi MetroThe city may soon get six new Delhi Metro corridors. The Economic Survey for 2008-09 has listed the new corridors, of which three routes are similar to those suggested by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on the basis of the detailed project reports (DPRs) prepared for Phase III and Phase IV in the capital.

As proposed by the government, new Delhi Metro lines will get constructed from Rithala to Bawana via Barwala, Narela to Najafgarh via Bawana, Mundka to Delhi border via Gherva, Dwarka Sector 6 to Shahbad Mohammedpur, Jehangirpuri — Dhaula Kuan-Moolchand-Nehru Place-Kalindi Kunj and Jehangirpuri to Sagarpur.

“The new routes have been identified on the basis of commuter demand and population density. These are different from the routes proposed by Delhi Metro in their masterplan, which is based on a transportation demand study by RITES,” said an official.

Three of the proposed routes, however, are similar to the ones proposed in DMRC’s Metro masterplan. For instance, the survey has identified a Metro link from Rithala to Bawana via Barwala and DMRC’s phase III plan also has a Rithala-Barwana route. Also, the survey has proposed a Mundka-Ghevra-Delhi border route, while DMRC has plans to extend the Mundka line to Bahadurgarh in Phase III. The Jehangirpuri-Kalindi Kunj route proposed in the survey also finds similarity in DMRC’s proposed link from Mukundpur to Dhaula Kuan.

The other routes proposed by DMRC for Phase III, which are still awaiting the Delhi government nod, include links between Mukundpur to ISBT Sarai Kale Khan, Central Secretariat-Mandi House-Daryaganj-Welcome-Nawada, Rithala-Barwala, Airport link to Gurgaon Sector 48 to Sushant Lok, extensions in Badarpur, Faridabad and Ghaziabad proposed as part of Phase III. As planned, this will add another 114.67 km of Delhi Metro to the NCR.

As per the practice, the routes suggested by DMRC are submitted to the government for approval, and construction on the new lines begins only after that. There have been instances in the past where the government has made alterations to some of the suggested routes, and the decision of the government in such matters is considered final.


New Metro corridors

1. Rithala-Barwala-Bawana
Delhi Metro

2. Narela-Bawana-Najafgarh

3. Mundka-Gherva-Delhi border

4. Dwarka sector 6-Shahbad Mohammedpur

5. Jehangirpuri-Dhaula Kuan-Moolchand-Nehru Place-Kalindi Kunj

6. Jehangirpuri-Sagarpur

Five Stars to Get Five Years Tax holiday

five star hotelsThe Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) has advocated to the government a five year tax holiday for all hotels (including the five star hotels) to boost up their capacity expansion ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games

In the 2007-08 budget, the government had announced a five year tax holiday scheme for two, three and four-star hotels and convention centers with a seating capacity of not less than 3,000.

ASSOCHAM has said that this must be extended to all categories of hotels including five-star hotels to ensure adequate capacity expansion to cope with the tourist influx during the Commonwealth Games. It came in view that there have not been enough expansions in Five Star hotels which is a cause of worry as a majority of the tourists are likely to stay in these hotels.

"Therefore, to speed up these works, the five-year tax holiday scheme needs to be extended to this (five-star hotel) category," the industry lobby said.

ASSOCHAM secretary general D.S. Rawat said the hospitality industry should be extended the “infrastructure sector” status as it is capital-intensive, with five-star hotels requiring capital investments ranging from Rs.300 crore to Rs,500 crore (Rs.3 billion to Rs.5 billion). He said that the chamber has forwarded a proposal in this regard to the finance ministry.

According to the associations estimates of 70 new projects in the next two years is going to add around 19,000 rooms in the country.

In light of the hotel industry being one of the prime foreign exchange earners in India, and a service export industry the association has proposed to exempt the industry from service tax.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Strict Food Quality Regulations For Delhi Eateries ahead of 2010 CWG

Before India’s capital hosts the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the country’s food quality regulator plans to put together a directory of safe small- and medium-sized eateries in and around the city.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is developing safety standards for such restaurants, including kerbside kiosks, and plans to gradually implement these in other cities as well.

The regulator, however, does not plan to make the standards and guidelines mandatory. “The idea is to make them follow the standard voluntarily. We do not want to force it,” said P.I. Suvrathan, chairman, FSSAI. “When consumers start opting for safer options, it will push all the eating joints to adhere to the safety system.”

FSSAI would look at the quality of the food served, the kind of water used to prepare the food, seating arrangement, level of contamination, and also issues such as how the leftover food is disposed of. “We will rate and grade eating joints on such parameters,” Suvrathan said.

To be sure, there are concerns on how the country’s vast and diverse food sector from hawkers and roadside eateries to expensive restaurants can be regulated. An industry expert, however, said such initiatives should be developmental in nature, with minimal focus on regulation.

“If most initiatives are punitive in nature, it will indirectly adversely impact the investment in food service and food processing sector,” said Sanjay Sethi, vice-president, food and agriculture, at retail consultancy firm Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd.



“So FSSAI should lay emphasis on capacity building, skill development, recognition of star performing outlets, enhancing linkages and improvement of the supply chain.”

To begin with, FSSAI will launch its directory in Delhi as the city is expected to see a surge of visitors for the Games scheduled to be held in October next year.

“In the next two-three years, we have a plan to survey and grade restaurants across India and release city-specific directories and put up the names on our website,” Suvrathan said.

FSSAI was set up last year under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, as a statutory body to establish scientific standards on food quality and safety.


The Source of the video : Source : http://www.livemint.com/
(This video is exclusive property of livemint.com and used only for the purpose of providing information to the blog readers. This blog is in no way associated with livemint.com or anyone of its subsidiaries)

Delhi Police working for safe Commonwealth Games

Delhi Police are making comprehensive security arrangements to project the national capital as a safe city during the Commonwealth Games 2010, a senior official said Friday.

"We will project Delhi as a safe city. We will ensure that the Games pass smoothly and no untoward incident takes place in the capital during that time," Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal said at the end of a fortnightly review meeting of the law and order situation in the national capital.

Dadwal said the police were considering various options and making comprehensive security arrangements.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

B&B Scheme for 2010 CWG: Delhites Want to Participate?

Want to become host to the millions of tourists both foreigners and domestic and contribute your two cents for the India’s pride event to be held next year ….???

Participate in the Bread & Breakfast scheme …

Read on to know more..


Here's your chance to show the world what our culture and family values are all about, with an opportunity to turn your home as a source of additional income.

We all share the pride of hosting Commonwealth Games 2010 in our great city Delhi. Along with this pride there are some concerns that we would like to share with you and address them with your active participation and support.

One of these major concerns is the large number of guess we are expecting and limited hotel accommodations available for these tourists.

Towards this, Delhi Government has initiated Bed & Breakfast Scheme and this is where citizens having properties and facilities in Delhi will be lodging in tourist coming from abroad and other states as a paying guest within a regulated frame work. Of course, you will be gaining from the fee charged by the guests, so it is an added source of income as well.

If you think you have suitable space and facility to run such an operation, we shall look forward to your participation.

Frequently Asked Questions for Bread & Breakfast Scheme

Who can apply under this Scheme?

Any owner/ resident of a premise who have spare bed rooms in their premises. The number of rooms which can be let out under this scheme can be 2/3rd of the total bed rooms available with minimum 1 and maximum 5 bed rooms. The owner must be a resident of the premises along with his/ her family.

From where the application forms can be obtained?

The application forms are available at Tourism Department, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Room No.176, Old Secretariat, Delhi - 110 054 and Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation at 18-A, DDA, SCO Complex, Defence Colony, New Delhi-110 024.

The forms can also be downloaded from the website: http://delhitourism.nic.in

How many categories are there in this Scheme?

There are two categories namely: Silver and Gold under which the applications can be submitted depending upon the facilities being provided in the premises. The size of bed room under Silver category should be 120 sq. ft. and under Gold category, it should be 200 sq. ft. The check-list for the facilities is enclosed with the application form.

What is the fee to be deposited with the application form?

For Silver Category, Rs.3, 000/- and for Gold Category, Rs.5, 000/- to be deposited along with the application form. The fee so deposited is non-refundable.

Can there be change in the category applied for?

The premises can be recommended by the Committee either in the higher category or in lower category than applied for depending on the standard of facilities available in the premises. If higher category is recommended, the balance of the payment will have to be deposited by the owner, however, no refund will be allowed if premises registered under lower category.

How the customers will know about the premises registered under the scheme?

The complete details of the premises registered under this scheme shall be available on the website of Delhi Tourism and also tourist information centers being run by Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation(DTTDC).

What will be the tariff?

Tariff under this scheme has not been fixed and will be regulated by the market forces.

Can a front office be set up in the premises registered under this scheme?

No such front office or otherwise is allowed under this scheme as the premises should be presented as primarily residential property.

How the water, power and other tariffs would be levied?

Since the premises registered under this scheme would be the residential premises, therefore, water, power and property tariffs would be levied on domestic rates and no other tax would be applicable to these premises.

What will be the time period under which the application would be disposed of?

All applications under Bed &Breakfast scheme are to be disposed of within a period of 3 months from the date when the applications are submitted.

Who will categorize the premises?

A committee constituted under the Act will inspect the premises after the application for its registration has been submitted and the same Committee will recommend the premises to be categorized under Silver & Gold category.

What will be the obligations of the owner of the premises?

The owner of the premises registered as Bed & Breakfast establishment shall :

(i) maintain a register and/or computerized record in electronic form giving detailed particulars as prescribed, of the guests and keep the same readily available for inspection at all times. The register shall have to be renewed on year-to-year basis and preserved for such period as may be prescribed;

(ii) send information of the guests staying in the establishment to the municipal body concerned and the police every fortnight on the 15th and last day of every month;

(iii) display the list of guests at the establishment;

(iv) obtain verification of the employees in the establishment by the police;

(v) maintain establishment in a good state of repair and cleanliness and fit for habitation of guests at all times and shall comply with any rules respecting standards of health, hygiene and safety including fire safety;

(vi) display at a conspicuous place in the establishment the certificate of registration, type of food offered, the schedule of charges for the accommodation and food, names of employees and time of checking out;

(vii) provide good quality food prepared in hygienic conditions;

(viii) inform the guests in advance of the type of accommodation, facilities and food offered, the rates charged, time of opening and closing of the establishment, etc;

(ix) provide the food and facilities to the guests as promised; and

(x) inform the prescribed authority within a week of the changes, if any, in the facilities at the establishment as approved at the time of registration.


What will be restrictions on the owners of the premises?

The owner of the premises shall not :

(i) maintain a front office and the entire house should appear like a normal residential house;

(ii) carry out or allow any commercial activity of tours and travel, sight-seeing, transport, handicrafts or any other similar activity in or from the establishment;

(iii) indulge or allow any such activity which adversely affects the privacy and rights of the neighbours and residents of the locality;

(iv) make misrepresentation to any person in respect of the establishment; and

(v) indulge in any kind of touting activity.


What will be obligations of the guest?

The guest shall, among his other obligations, comply with the following -

(a) He shall disclose his correct particulars for making entries in the register maintained by the owner;

(b) He shall be responsible for his good conduct and behavior and shall not indulge in any disorderly activity leading to breach of peace, civil and social atmosphere of the locality or create any nuisance to adversely affect the rights of other guests and residents of the establishment;

(c) He shall not run a separate kitchen in the establishment;

(d) He shall be responsible for the repair of damage caused by him or by any person whom he permits on the establishment through any of their willful or negligent act, but not for damage caused by normal wear and tear

(e) He shall cooperate fully with the owner of the establishment to maintain the premises neat and clean, to pay charges as due in time and to abide by other rules of the establishment; and

(f) He shall not allow any other person to stay in the establishment overnight.


For Any Queries, further Enquiry about participation in this Scheme Contact Us.

For Further details please contact

Asst. Director (Tourism), Room no-176, Old Secretariat,
Delhi-110054

Tel : 23890266, 23890203
Fax: 23890254

Chief Manger (Events, PR & Tourism), Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation Ltd. 18-DDA, SCO Complex, Defence Colony,
New Delhi-110024

Tel: 24698393.

Email : delhitourism@vsnl.com

Website : www.delhitourism.nic.in

CWG Organizing Committee Hiring for The Extravaganza

In October 2010, over 8,000 athletes from 71 countries, participating in 24 sports disciplines will converge at Delhi which will host the biggest multi-sporting celebration in India’s history! Needless to say, this is going to be the event of a lifetime! The Games will act as a catalyst, and provide momentum to the chain reaction of positive change which is sweeping the nation today.

In order to deliver the Games, the Organizing Committee (OC) has been formed which will have a team of over a 1,000 professionals over the next two years, supported by over 20,000 volunteers at the time of the Games. The OC is looking for a dynamic team of capable people with the right experience and attitude to work in diverse fields, such as Games Services, Venue Operations, Sports, Technology, and many more…

YOU can be a part of this dream team… are you Game? It’s a race against time. We are looking for an exceptional team to help us cross the finish line and deliver the best Commonwealth Games ever.


Run with us … the world awaits!

Should you wish to apply for any of the positions listed below, we would be happy to receive a copy of your profile. Please include the name of the position to which you are applying in the subject line of the email. If you wish to apply for multiple positions, please list each position title in the subject line.

International Hires

For the positions listed below, please mail your CV to coo.office@cwgdelhi2010.org

  1. ADG (Sports)
  2. ADG (Venues)
  3. ADG Games Services
  4. DDG (Games Village)
  5. Director (CGA Relations)
  6. Director (Press Operations)
  7. Director (Spectator Services)
  8. Director (Traffic & Transport)
  9. Director (Venue Technology)
  10. Director (Games Village Operations)

Domestic Hires

For the positions listed below, please mail your CV to careers@cwgdelhi2010.org

  1. Director-Legal
  2. Director-Venue Operations
  3. DDG-Workforce
  4. Director-Workforce-Volunteers
  5. APO-Planning
  6. PO-Planning
  7. Director-Legacy
  8. PO-Doping
  9. Director-Technology-Telecommunications
  10. Director-Ticketing
  11. Administrative Asst
  12. APO-Administration
  13. APO-Sponsorship Sales

More information can be collected from official website of 2010 CWG at:
http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/home.aspx

Commonwealth Games preparations – Delhi ready to set a Mark

The Lt. Governor of Delhi Tejendra Khanna on Monday said that all the 2010 commonwealth games projects will be completed on time for gala event to be held in New Delhi during October 2010.

“To provide better intra city connectivity during the games, the Delhi government is constructing 24 new flyovers and six road-over-bridges. Street scaping alongside roads and vacant areas around flyovers will include greenery, tree plantation, street furniture and modern signages,” Khanna said addressing the Budget session of Delhi Assembly.

Tejendra Khanna further added that Delhi government was committed to transform Delhi into a world-class city.

“Around 120 kilometers of metro line will be added to the existing set up and 3800 new buses will be purchased before the commonwealth games,” Khanna added.

Khanna repeated that the state government is committed not only to the maintenance of peace and social harmony, but also to provide better fiscal discipline and give a citizen centric governance

The government, he said, will give priority to the poor, most vulnerable, backward classes, minorities and the deprived sections of society

Participating Nations of 2010 Commonwealth Games

Participating Nations of 2010 Commonwealth GamesDelhi, India is all set to host the multi sport event of Commonwealth Games 2010. The games are scheduled between 3rd to 14th October. Various preparations have been made in order to ensure the convenience of the athletes and travelers. The elite participants of Commonwealth Nations take part in 2010 Commonwealth Games. Even this time, the sports personalities are very excited about the Games.

The sports played during the event are some that are played in Olympics and some are played in typically in Commonwealth countries. Sports like Rugby 7s, lawn balls and netball are typical to Commonwealth nations.

With regards to participating teams, the event is considered to be the most grand multi sports events. The athletes from all over the globe would been participating in many sports like gymnastics, wrestling, aquatics, hockey, netball, table tennis, badminton, shooting squash etc. At present there are 53 Commonwealth countries and 71 participating teams.

The infrastructure of India has been made state of art to provide comfort to the participants and tourists. The dedicated Games village (Khel Gaon) the artificial sea beach, free Delhi and Taj sightseeing tours are a few attractions for the athletes. The Government has taken firm steps to ensure security of the participants and the travelers so that they can enjoy the sports without any worry.

Individual teams are from four countries of United Kingdom that are sent to the Commonwealth Games. These four countries are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Apart from this, individual teams are also sent from the British Crown Dependencies including Jersey, the Isle of Man and Guernsey. There are teams of six countries that have attended every Commonwealth Games.

They are Canada, Australia, England, New Zealand, Wales and Scotland.

The bookings for the Commonwealth Games Delhi have started. Do not delay further and book a tour to Delhi now and be a part of the wonderful event in 2010.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Before Commonwealth Games 6600 New Buses for Delhi

The Delhi government will purchase 6,600 new buses before the 2010 Commonwealth Games to provide a better public transport system during the Games, Lieutenant Governor Tejedra Khanna said Monday.

Addressing the Delhi assembly at the start of the budget session Monday, Khanna said: "3,800 new buses are proposed to be purchased in time for the Commonwealth Games 2010. It will be augmented to a fleet of 6,600 buses, to meet the requirements of Delhiites."

The bus fleet will include both low- and semi-low floor buses, along with air-conditioned buses. It is likely to provide public transport a competitive edge over private transport.

Khanna informed the assembly that the Delhi government is constructing 24 new flyovers and bridges and six road-over-bridges/road-under-bridges to provide better intra-city connectivity during the Games period.

"The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is also constructing 18 road-over-bridges/road-under-bridges to ensure rapid flow of vehicular traffic between the competition venues. These will contribute significantly to a reduction in stoppage times," Khanna told the assembly.

The Public Works Department (PWD), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and MCD have also taken up a drive to beautify the roads, by way of widening, strengthening and resurfacing the roads and street lighting.

"To improve aesthetics, street scaping alongside roads and in vacant areas around the flyovers will include greenery, tree plantation, street furniture and modern signages. All these projects are at different stages of progress and will be completed in time for the Commonwealth Games," Khanna added.

Tour Agents for Commonwealth Games 2010

Commonwealth Games 2010

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.
Security and Comfort in Commonwealth Games 2010

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 for Commonwealth Games 2010

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.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Athletics seminar begins in Hyderabad

The seminar of technical officials of athletics was formally inaugurated by Pullela Gopi Chand, former All England badminton champion, at Gachibowli Stadium here on Sunday.

Maurice Nicholas, secretary-general of Asian Athletics Association, Kripal Singh, chairman, Technical Committee (exams) and C.K. Valson, chairman of technical committee (conduct) were among those present on the occasion.

About 200 Athletics Federation of India (AFI) technical officials are participating in the five-day seminar-cum-workshop. These officials would be graded once again according to their efficiency and performance.

Gopi lauded the initiative of the organizing committee of 2010 Commonwealth Games in conducting the seminar which should only help India showcase its organizational skills for the 2010 Games in a big way.

“These seminars help to fine tune our skills on the organizational front and we hope that the Games would be the best-ever sporting event in India,” he said.

Dr. Singh in his welcome address said that the seminar aimed at enlightening the delegates about the various aspects of organizing the athletics events in a professional manner.

Standard Coordination Committee reviews progress of 2010 CWG

The Coordination Committee for the 2010 Commonwealth Games on Friday reviewed the New Delhi's preparation for the sporting extravaganza next year and found the progress satisfactory.

Sports Minister MS Gill chaired the meeting also attended by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi and officials from Tourism Ministry, Delhi Development Authority and other departments.

"The progress of all the stadia built by Sports Authority of India and DDA were reviewed and found satisfactory," a ministry official said.

"Security arrangement, medical facilities, city infrastructure, volunteer recruitment and their training, police and traffic arrangements everything was assessed in the meeting," he added.

Tourism Ministry officials spelled out plans for the accommodation of tourists,while construction of the Commonwealth Games Village also came up for review.

"The Minister assured all the stakeholders that adequate fund has been provided for all the activities and money should not be a concern," the official said.

The Coordination Committee also decided to set up another committee comprising officials from Sports Ministry, representatives from Delhi government and organizing committee to review the progress in construction of various facilities and report to the Ministry every fortnight.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dedicated Electricity Grid to Take Care of 2010 CWG

A dedicated electricity grid is to be set up for 2010 commonwealth games by BSES, one of the two private power distribution firms in the national capital. This project will cost around $8 million (INR 400 million). This electricity grid will exclusively serve the upcoming athletes village for the Commonwealth Games next year.

In an interview Lalit Jalan, the chief executive of BSES informed that the electricity grid will provide uninterrupted power supply to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, apart from continuous electricity at stadiums. This grid will be ready by the end of this year.

Keeping in mind the environmental measures, around 30 % area of the grid will be covered by trees. It will be a environment friendly and green grid, Jalan added, giving an update on the company, which is part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG).

The grid will also have landscaping and deploy the latest energy conservation techniques, and will be located near the Akshardham temple across the Yamuna.

Counting on their achievements senior BSES officials said that in the seven years since distribution of electricity has been privatized in the national capital; the company has managed to cut the losses on account of theft and transmission to 20 percent from 60 percent.

“In the process, the Delhi government has been able to save Rs.13,729 crore (Rs.137.29 billion/$2.75 billion),” Jalan said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DDA Arranging 5000 flats for CWG visitors in S Delhi

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is arranging over 5,000 flats in South Delhi for the accommodation of tourists and visitors during the Commonwealth Games 2010.

The flats are being readied in Vasant Kunj and Jasola to partly offset the shortage of accommodation for over 50,000 guests during the sporting extravaganza. “We are readying these flats to deal with the shortfall of accommodation during the Commonwealth Games,” a senior DDA official said.

The official said refurbishment of these flats has already started and it will be completed soon.

He said after DDA finishes the construction activities, Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) will furnish the flats as per standard of three-star hotels. Although Games Organizing Committee maintains that there would be no shortage of rooms, still accommodation remains a major area of concern.

Work Started on Ghaziabad-Vaishali, Delhi Metro Line

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Wednesday began work on the proposed metro rail line from Delhi’s Anand Vihar to Vaishali, Ghaziabad. The officials said the work on this 2.67km line will be completed by March 31 next year, months ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the capital.

”Once the line is complete, the journey from Vaishali to Rajiv Chowk in Connaught Place will take only 22 minutes. Revenue from ticket sales and advertisement at the stations will go to the DMRC,” said R K Sachan, secretary of Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA).

GDA officials said the line will cost Rs 260 crore and that the civic agency had already paid Rs 130 crore to DMRC. ‘‘We have asked DMRC to give us details of how the remaining Rs 130 will be utilized. We will arrange for the payment on this account as soon as details are filled in. There is no problem of money for the project,’’ said Sachan

The Memorandum of understanding (MoU) between DMRC and GDA about the first phase of the Metro project in Ghaziabad was signed on March 24 last year. In April, GDA made payment of Rs 130 crore but the work was delayed.

GDA is also looking to extend the Metro network in its area and has sought approval from the state government to levy a cess on residential land to fund it.

70 New Foot Over bridges With Lifts And Ramps

After flyovers, it’s the turn of swanky foot over bridges (FOBs) across Delhi. By 2010 Commonwealth Games, Delhi roads will get over 70 FOBs for safe passage of pedestrians, the most vulnerable road users. If approved by the Delhi government, the next set of FOBs will have user-friendly features like lifts/escalators and ramps.

Public Works Department (PWD), which owns large section of road network in the capital, has floated tenders for 30 FOBs, which are part of the ongoing flyover projects in Delhi. All these are scheduled to be completed by June next year, sources in the department said.

"FOBs have been made integral part of these projects particularly the ones built to make crossings signal-free since pedestrians’ right has to be protected. It’s impossible for them to cross roads at these busy junctions. In many cases, the FOBs would be operational by the time all work related to these projects get completed," said a senior department official.

Besides, the flyover projects, PWD have also plans to float tenders for FOBs on busy roads, including Ring Road, Outer Ring Road and Mehrauli-Badarpur Road. The construction of more FOBs gains importance considering the fact that over 1200 pedestrians die in road accidents every year on Delhi roads.

All these FOBs will have escalators and ramps. PWD officials said that normally 6-7 months are required to construct one FOB and if there’s no hurdle, some critical stretches in the city may get FOBs by next June, three months ahead of the Games schedule.

Official sources also said that to make the FOBs look sleek and trendy, there are proposals to improvise the structures. ‘‘We have already built two such FOBs at Behra Enclave and Mangolpuri. The welding below the structures has been covered to give them a smarter look,’’ a senior official said.

Officiating PWD engineer-in-chief A K Sinha said that they have sent more design proposals for next lot of FOBs for which tenders would be invited later. ‘‘They need to get go-ahead from the government. It is premature to comment on them, but one thing is sure we want them to be more user-friendly and attractive,’’ Sinha said.

FOBs on major stretches

  1. Outer Ring Road | 5
  2. Trans-Yamuna | 7
  3. Ring Road | 8
  4. MB Road | 4
  5. Other stretches across city | 7

FOBs in conceptual stage | 8 30

more to be built with the flyover projects underway in Delhi

All FOBs to have escalators and ramps

The FOBs are likely to be ready by June 2010

Source: Times of India(Delhi Edition)

Finally Delhi Roads To Get New Life

It seems that 2010 Commonwealth Games has become a boon for Delhi and Delhites ,as city never witnessed such an infrastructure development in its history. Delhites are well familiar with the bumps on Delhi roads as they are common, but now it seems they will get rid of their backache due to bad and bumpy rides as Government has planned to re-lay roads and new electric lights before CWG 2010. Here is the full article.


Come October 2010, all major roads in Delhi will look as good as new, freshly resurfaced and with perfect road markings. Or so the government has been claiming.

The public works department (PWD), the major road owning agency, has drawn up a map for micro-surfacing of all stretches which were laid or resurfaced barely two years ago. Roads which were resurfaced five or six years would be redeveloped using three technologies PWD sources said.

As far as micro-surfacing treatment was concerned, it involved putting a layer of bitumen on a stretch prove its longevity. This also improves the strength and protection of that stretch significantly. It is hard to imagine that the road was laid years ago,’’ said a senior PWD official.

He said this process would start on a war footing immediately after the monsoons.

"We wanted to start it early, but because of rains we will start it post-monsoon. During the Games Delhi will get the new look and more so with the new set of electricity poles and streetlights being installed on all PWD roads," the official added.

The department has reportedly finalized the plan to use micro-surfacing technology to resurface over 400 kms length of PWD roads in the national capital.

According to the elaborate plan, in the remaining stretches where relaying was carried out at least four or five years ago, the agency would resurface certain stretches using waste plastic. This could cover over 50 km lane length of major roads falling under PWD jurisdiction.

Sources said the agency was also looking forward to using recycling technology to strengthen the existing stretches ahead of the Games."This is an environment-friendly technology as we need less one and the already ed construction material except bitumen is utilized," a senior PWD official said.

Nevertheless, major portion of the PWD roads will be resurfaced using conventional technology. "It is a mammoth task, but can be completed in the stipulated time frame," said an official involved in the programme.

Official sources said the process of tendering and installation of road signage would happen soon and that they have submitted new designs before the government for approval. "It’s not just about giving a facelift to the stretches connecting Games venues but to entire Delhi," said another official.

Source : Times of India (Delhi Edition)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

India Preparing For 2010 Commonwealth Games

India Preparing For 2010 Commonwealth GamesHotel Staff, Security Personnel’s, Small Restaurant and Hotel Owners, Taxi and Auto Drivers to receive special training to lure foreign visitors during CWG Games

With 2010 Commonwealth Games round the corner, and the capital expected to play host to thousands of foreign visitors, the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) in association with the ministry of tourism has launched a massive training programme for taxi and auto drivers, CISF personnel, dhaba owners, hotel staff etc.

In the scheme, participants will be taught Basic English as well as the courtesy to be extended to visitors.

Training will also be provided to residents who will be offering rooms to foreigners under the Delhi government’s bed and breakfast scheme. House owners will be briefed on how to be more tourists friendly so that the visitors can enjoy their overall stay in the Capital. ‘‘House owners will be provided hospitality-related training and be briefed about the Indian tourism scenario.

Most visitors generally question their hosts about the city so they will be provided information on the golden triangle - Delhi, Agra and Jaipur - as well as the other places tourists should visit in Delhi,’’ said an official.

A major focus group of the training will be taxi drivers, who will be provided certificates after they complete the same. ‘‘We need to promote the “atithi devo bhavah” spirit. These drivers will be taught basic conversational English, communication skills, upkeep and road worthiness of vehicles, first aid and safety management and common courtesy like opening doors for women passengers,’’ said an ITDC official.

Auto drivers will be another focus group. Admitting that most people prefer to use autos instead of taxis as they are more economical, officials said the biggest challenge would lie in ensuring auto drivers did not fleece the foreign visitors. ‘‘A proposal has been put up where auto drivers will be paid Rs 200 per day for participating in the training programme, which is for 14 hours. We have also approached Delhi Police in this regard. But since the training is a voluntary scheme, it is yet to be seen how many drivers will actually participate in it,’’ said an official.

Dhaba owners are another group being looked at. As well as security guards at monuments and staff of smaller hotels in the city. According to senior ITDC officials, all these categories of workers would be imparted training so they become more familiar with dealing with foreign visitors. Guards at monuments, for example, would be trained to help visitors if they appear lost. They will also be taught how to answer frequently asked questions from visitors. Security guards at Metro stations will also be made part of the programme.

A few years ago, the tourism ministry launched the “atithi devo bhavah” campaign at IGI airport wherein taxi drivers were trained in areas of hygiene and conduct, behavior, integrity, as well as safety and security for foreign visitors. Those who completed the training were given a quality sticker for their vehicles so visitors could distinguish them from other taxi drivers. However, the much publicized campaign soon fizzled out as taxi drivers lost interest.

Haryana advances power project commissioning for CWG

The Haryana government Saturday announced that the commissioning of the first phase of the state’s biggest power plant is being advanced to ensure power supply to the national capital much before the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The first 500 MW unit of the prestigious 1,500-MW Indira Gandhi Super Thermal Power Project, being set up in Jhajjar district of Haryana, 200 km from Delhi, will now be commissioned in April 2010.

It will cater to the power requirements of the Commonwealth Games - the biggest sporting event in the country - to be held in October next year.

The schedule of implementation of the project was reviewed at a top level meeting by the union Power Secretary Harishankar Brahma and senior central and state officials of the power sector here.

Haryana Power Generation Corp managing director Sanjeev Kaushal said the construction work at the mega-status project was progressing as per schedule.

“Keeping in view the pace and progress of the construction activities, the commissioning target of the first 500 MW unit has been re-fixed for April 2010, well in time to cater to the power requirements of the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi,” Kaushal said.

Delhi will get 250 MW of power from the commissioned first unit of 500 MW.

Kaushal said the other two units of 500 MW each would be commissioned in October 2010 and January 2011.

The total estimated project cost is Rs.7,892 crore. An expenditure of Rs.2,543 crore has already been incurred on the project.

Stiff Preparations for the coming CWG 2010

Long before the much talked about 2010 commonwealth Games would start in the capital, the Delhi police and security establishment of the country will be able to monitor the movements of people all across Delhi, including the stadiums, player’s hostels and the international airport.

With the threat of terrorists looming large on the capital, the Delhi police have decided to set up a command structure with digital video walls that would enable them to watch real time video footage from the numerous cameras that would set up at traffic signals, roads and inside the stadiums.

"The commonwealth command centre will be built in the Police headquarters. A control centre will be built on the fourth floor of the building which will have adjoining walls with two big screens. The screens will monitor all the CCTV cameras put in Delhi. We will be able to monitor all the stadiums from this command centre. There will be two methods of view: operational and command view. All hot lines will be connected to this command centre, "said the police commissioner.

With a budget of more than Rs. 200 crores for the security of the players, the cops are using especially designed eyes, "intelligent cameras", which will be embedded in the walls of the stadiums to keep a watch on the movements of the people. "These are smart cameras that can also identify unclaimed objects, number plates of vehicles and movements of the people," said a senior official of Delhi Police.

Delhi police would also be using a data base to identify criminals and anti-national elements who might try to disrupt the games. To further fortify the stadiums, there will also be biometric scanning of human faces and advanced under-vehicle surveillance.

Three ITDC Hotels to play host to top VIPs during CWG 2010

With 486 days left for the Commonwealth Games, India Thursday named three hotels that will play host to top VIPs who would be in the national capital.

The three hotels - Hotel Ashok, Samrat and Janpath, all under the India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, a government of India undertaking - would also fill the need for hotel rooms in the capital.

The Organizing Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi and the ITDC Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard.

Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed said a budget of around Rs.300 crore (Rs.30 million), including the share of the government and the private sector, will be spent on the renovation of these hotels so that it could roll out the red carpet for international guests.

A total of Rs.146 crore has been sanctioned for the renovation work and upgradation of Hotel Ashok. Also, we have signed a contract with the Delhi Development Authority to furnish the DDA flats up to the standards of three-star hotels, so that we can give accommodation to guests and players there as well, Ahmad told reporters.

The 12-day Commonwealth Games will be hosted by India for the first time in October 2010, organizing Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi said.

We have too much to do and so work has to be done day and night," he added.

Around 10,000 rooms are there and we require 30,000 more rooms, he said, adding that while 3,300 rooms are being arranged by DDA, 6,200 rooms are being arranged in neighboring Haryana, and 1,800 rooms would be arranged in Uttar Pradesh.

He said the DDA, the housing body in the national capital, is arranging 5,500 rooms in Dwarka and Jasola, there are 11,000 guest houses in the city and 3,000 rooms available through the bed-and-breakfast scheme.

As we expect a bigger inflow of tourists, air-conditioned tented accommodations could also be arranged. Also, we are talking to educational institutions. We are also talking to defense officials to get their grounds, he added.

Kalmadi said while the Hotel Ashok would be offering 500 rooms, Samrat has 60 rooms and Janpath would be offering 120 rooms.

The three hotels, he said, would host members of the Commonwealth Games associations and other federation members.

Humble hospitality, neat and clean ambiance and good food are all that we will offer our guests of the games, said Parvez Dewan, chairman and managing director of ITDC.

We are also in the process of building a six-storey spa in Hotel Janpath. A brand new range of restaurants will be opened shortly that will offer the guest a wide range of specialties of cuisines from around the world, added Dewan.

2010 CWG Exceeding its Expected Budget

Higher construction costs will force the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games to go six to eight % over the planned $1.6 billion budget and there will be some delays completing the facilities, an organizing committee director said on Wednesday.

Two of the Games venues will miss the December 2009 deadline, the organizing committee joint director general, Tribhuvan Shawkar Darbari, said at a UK India Business Council Conference.

The cycling metrodome will not be ready until March 2010, while the swimming pool complex should be completed sometime between Jan. 31 and Feb 15 2010.

Increases in construction costs such as steel, cement and labour have led to the increase in costs, Darbari said.

"Deadlines have to be maintained so the revalidation of the budget, the re-appropriation and so on, as a strategy, has been worked out," he said.

"I think if you take it on an aggregate value it should be around about 6-8 percent more." He added: "There is an inflation factor. It's an overall increase in costs."

Government figures in December estimated expenditure at around 79 billion rupees ($1.6 billion). Darbari said the 6-8 percent increase was on this figure.

He also said measures had been taken to contain the costs and ensure completion of venues in times for the Games, which are scheduled from Oct. 3-14, 2010.

These include government guarantees for construction materials in short supply and a focused group of ministers which will cut through bureaucracy and provide fast-track clearances for anything linked to the Games.

The Commonwealth Games Federation raised concerns over the slow pace of work last year, which forced the 2009 world badminton championships to be shifted to Hyderabad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Women taxi drivers make their way to Indian roads

Women in India are choosing to make a living driving cabs. Authorities say they want at least 500 lady drivers before the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

But little is being done to make the roads and their male counterparts friendlier.

Delhi’s roads are notorious for rash driving and poor traffic discipline. But it’s overcoming India’s tradition of male-only taxi drivers that’s proved the biggest barrier to women like Suchita Jaiswal joining that profession.

Six months ago she was a housewife. But Suchita wanted to learn how to drive, and is now one of twenty women in the city proudly driving cabs.

“Driving here is not easy, it’s a challenge. On the road, some men misbehave with us, while others compliment us. But we manage. We ignore the men who try to intimidate us,” says Suchita, who now woks for the Forshe taxi service.

This taxi service was recently launched in Delhi to cater especially for women. It gives female passengers added peace of mind.

Safety is a concern for the women drivers too. A Delhi-based NGO has started a two-month program that trains girls from poor families to become drivers. The trainees are learning self-defense techniques to better protect themselves on the roads.

Rubina Khan, 19, found this changed the way she drives:

“I used to be very scared while driving, that someone would hit the car or harass me. But now I drive very confidently, and don’t let other drivers intimidate me. This self-defense training has helped me a lot – if a man harasses me, I slap him. I’m not scared now.”

Convincing girls from poor families to come forward is the biggest stumbling block. In India’s middle class, women have been driving a long time, but for poor families, letting their daughters go out to work as a driver is an alien concept.

Twenty- year-old Chandni refused to take up stereotypically ‘female’ work like sewing or cooking. She was lucky as her family was supportive. Her father Pyarelal overcame his initial skepticism and gave her his blessing.

“In my family, no girl is allowed to do a man’s job. So I was scared in the beginning to tell my father. But I plucked up the courage to tell him. He was very supportive, and has been my biggest support till now,” she said.

Still, many male cabbies in Delhi are convinced women aren’t good enough drivers. Taxi driver Sohan Singh is not at all complimentary of his female colleagues.

“Ten per cent of women drivers drive properly, but the remaining 90 per cent don’t know how to drive at all. They don’t follow the rules and drive in the centre of the road. You can keep blowing your horn, but they won’t give way,” he says.

Criticism like that doesn’t deter girls like Chandni. She’s applied for a commercial license to work as a driver. Earning 100 dollars a month means she could then take control of her life, and follow her own road.

Blueline buses will be Phased Out from July: Delhi Government

Ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Government has decided to start phasing out of Blueline (often called as blood lines by Delhites) buses from July onwards by replacing them with modern buses over a period of next five months.

The Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi Government had announced last year that it would phase out the buses since witnessing a big public outcry over Blueline buses after being blamed to be involved in a number of road accidents involving several deaths.

Delhi's Transport Minister, Arvinder Singh Lovely, has told media that the phase out of Blueline buses would start from July onwards and would take at least five months to conclude the entire process. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) would have a fleet of around 5,000 modern buses during the Commonwealth Games.

The government wants to put in place a modern bus fleet ahead of the forthcoming games in the city.

At present, nearly 2,200 Blue line buses are plying on the city's roads. Apart from the existing low floor buses, the city will get another lot of 2,500 vehicles in next couple of months.

The Cabinet has shown 'green signal' to Delhi Transport Corporation to procure 1,000 semi-low floor buses to augment the fleet of modern buses in the national capital.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

India is ahead in countdown for CWG: Suresh Kalmadi

Suresh Kalmadi picChairman of the organizing Committee of Commonwealth Games, Suresh Kalmadi has said that India is ahead of the deadline in the completion of the all facilities to host the Commonwealth Games at New Delhi in 2010.

Addressing a press conference after visiting a couple of sites here on Friday, Kalmadi said, "As the Chairman of the managing committee of the Commonwealth Games, I'm telling you that the things are on track and everything is on schedule and some things are ahead of schedule.

As far as the security is concerned, he mentioned that India is well prepared and none of the participating nations need to worry on this aspect.

"Two officials from the Commonwealth Games Federation have met the Home Secretary and we are in constant touch with them and we are giving them all our feedback. You know there is no question of being satisfied. It's a continuous process and we will have to do our best as far as security is concerned and we are at it," added Kalmadi.

The Commonwealth Games is expected to boost India's image as a global powerhouse. The games may also provide rich pickings for real estate developers.

Delhi is to stage the 2010 Commonwealth Games at an estimated cost of 70 billion rupees.

Delhi had bagged the contract after beating the Canadian city Hamilton in the bid for the games.

Plans to Make 2010 CWG a Huge Success

Wooing more foreign tourists and making the 2010 Commonwealth Games a grand success will be the main priorities of the Tourism Ministry.

"Our preparations are in full swing to make the Commonwealth Games next year a grand success," Tourism Minister Kumari Selja told reporters after assuming charge here today.

The mega sport event is slated to be held in October 2010 in the capital.

"We are expecting about one lakh tourists during the Games and steps are underway to cater to their needs," she said.

Acknowledging the drop in foreign tourist arrival in recent months, she said due to the Mumbai terror attack and the economic slowdown not many foreigners are visiting the country.

The number of foreign tourist arrival in April 2009 was 3.71 lakh as compared to 3.84 lakh in April last year and 3.51 lakh in April 2007.

"We have to launch a vigorous campaign to attract foreign tourists. It is also a major a source of foreign exchange earnings," she said.

The Ministry is conducting road shows in coordination with tour operators in several cities across the world to attract tourists

New I&B minister to focus on Commonwealth Games telecast

Terming the telecast of the 2010 Commonwealth Games one of the priority areas for her ministry, Ambika Soni, the new Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister, today said she would review matters pertaining to public broadcaster Prasar Bharati’s functioning and the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) being heard by the Delhi High Court over the alleged financial irregularities in Prasar Bharati.

Prasar Bharati has to undertake the production and telecast of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in high definition format, considered at least three times costlier than the existing standard definition. However, due to legal hurdles and allegations of financial mismanagement within the Prasar Bharati board, no forward action in the matter has taken place since the past six months, senior government officials say.

“Commonwealth Games are important for us. I will be interacting with my officials on all important matters before the ministry. I have also called for the papers related to the functioning of Prasar Bharati and the PIL that is being heard in the court, among other things, for my understanding,” Soni said while on her first visit to the I&B ministry after getting the portfolio on Thursday evening.

Taking stock of her ministry and its officials on the first working day after being allocated the charge of a Cabinet minister at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), Ambika Soni said she would take all the stakeholders into confidence before taking decisions on issues facing the media industry.

“I am not taking the charge today. I am here to meet my officials and see the ministry. I will take charge on Monday,” Soni said.

However, on being asked to outline her priorities in the I&B ministry, she said Commonwealth Games and its telecast would be a key issue for her. “I will also be looking at content code among all other key issues before the ministry. I am being briefed by my Secretary and other senior officials and I will come to media on my priorities at a later date,” said Soni.

The Prasar Bharati board and its functioning has been under a cloud for a past few months after its ex-chairman Arun Bhatnagar, who resigned a few days back citing irregularity in the functioning of top management of Prasar Bharati, alleged financial irregularities within Prasar Bharati. A PIL has also been filed in the Delhi High Court.

Prasar Bharati being the host broadcasters for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, has to telecast the 14-day international tournament in high definition as mandated by the Commonwealth Games organising committee.

So far, the Prasar Bharati has not been able to take a decision on whether to outsource the entire coverage of the Commonwealth Games to a third-party through a tender process or to do it using the available resources of Doordarshan.

Soni was earlier the minister for Tourism and Culture in the 14th Lok Sabha. There are two Ministers of State in the ministry in Mohan Jatua and S Jagathrakshakan who, according to senior officials, will also take formal charge on June 1 along with Soni.

Soni is also expected to take up pending policy issues including policy on Headend-In-the-Sky (HITS), a move that will open doors for the digital delivery of cable channels across the country at one go using satellites.

Also, expansion and review of Conditional Access System (CAS) in rest of the country, expansion of private FM radio business are among the top priorities awaiting the attention of Soni, say senior officials of the I&B ministry.

Sports Minister Sets His Priorities From CWG to hockey

M.S GillFor Sports Minister M.S. Gill, Thursday was not his first day in office but a continuation after a brief vacation. From the Commonwealth Games to forming an unified hockey body, Gill will have a busy time ahead as he took charge for his second stint in office.

This time Gill has more powers as a cabinet minister in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s new team.

Gill is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead and knows that there isn’t much time on hand. The venues of the Commonwealth Games, to be held here Oct 3-14, 2010 are yet to be finished. Adding to this, hockey’s world body FIH has already asked India to quickly form a democratic body to run the sport, failing to which India may lose the 2010 men’s World Cup scheduled in March.

The sports minister said finishing the construction work of the seven venues for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and forming Hockey India, a unified body for both men and women players, will top his priorities.

“The construction cost for the 2010 Commonwealth Games has gone up to Rs. 24.6 billion from Rs.10 billion. The money has been sanctioned by the cabinet and is scheduled to be released in batches. I can assure you that all the venues, except the cycling velodrome and the Karni Singh Shooting Range will be completed by December. These two stadiums will be ready by February,” Gill said.
The former chief election commissioner also said the Commonwealth Games Co-ordination Committee is doing its best to meet the infrastructure deadline.

“We have been hammering out things irrespective of each other’s presence. The chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit has full faith in me. We know that if anything goes wrong everyone will be blamed,” said Gill.

Gill also assured that the hockey ad-hoc committee, which was set-up by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to run the game, will soon be replaced by Hockey India.

“I had a meeting with FIH president Leandro Negre, when he came to India earlier this month. We had long discussions with Negre and IOA president Suresh (Kalmadi). The FIH was impressed with the construction work at the National Stadium (World Cup venue). We are confident of hosting the World Cup,” he said.

Steps for Clean Air Before 2010 CWG

When China’s Beijing City was preparing to host the 2008 Olympics, the city authorities divided the cars into two neat groups: odd-numbered nameplates and even-numbered nameplates. The ‘odd’ and ‘even’ cars were allowed to ply on the city’s thoroughfares on alternate days. It was neither a funny coincidence, nor a media-friendly exercise.

The drill was part of an elaborate action plan to bring down city’s much-criticized air pollution level.

As Delhi gets ready for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the deadline to clean up its air is also inching closer.

Ninety-nine polluting units, including acid and cement units, have to be moved out by February 2010.

There is still no concrete plan to bring down the emission levels of cars the main cause of pollution.

Further, hectic construction activity is making the Capital’s air dirtier, especially in winter.
That air pollution affects athletes the most is well documented; though mostly only in the international scenario.

A 2002 study published in the medical journal Lancet said that asthma increases in children who play more than three sports in places with high ozone levels. This is because athletes tend to breathe in larger quantities of air. In Delhi (and the rest of the country), air pollution is monitored only on two spatial categories: residential areas and industrial areas. There is no monitoring of areas which are Commonwealth Games centric: like sports stadiums or the construction sites.

The Capital, meanwhile, is rolling up its sleeves to tackle dirty air at the policy level. “In a public notice, we have given 99 polluting units time till February 6, 2010 to move out of the city. If they don’t comply, they will be facing strict action,” said Dr A K Ambasht, Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

At least four more city forests are also expected to come up by the time of the Games. But more needs to be done, say experts.

Indo-American Olympic medalist visited Delhi

Indo-American Olympic medalist Raj Bhavsar was in the capital on Monday to explore how he can contribute to the growth of gymnastics in India with an eye on next year's Commonwealth Games.

An artistic gymnast with roots in Gujarat, Bhavsar was part of the American team that won bronze medal in the Beijing Olympics.

During his India trip, Bhavsar met members of the Gymnastics Federation of India, the Sports Ministry and the Commonwealth Games organizing committee to find out if there could be any role for him in the country's preparation for 2010 Commonwealth Games.

A member of the 2001 and 2003 world champion American teams, Bhavsar will also visit the gymnastics facility in Allahabad on Tuesday, according to a release here