Thursday, October 8, 2009

Games inspection day

Chances are all will go well on Thursday, both on you way to work and back. But you could do well to plan.

Here comes Delhi’s first challenge, as delegates from the 71 member nations of the Commonwealth go around inspecting the 2010 Games venues.

The same sort of traffic disruptions may happen every day over 10 days next October — perhaps on a larger scale — when the Games get underway.

So Thursday is going to give the city a taste of things to come.

“Peak hour traffic will be affected,” said Delhi traffic chief S.N. Shrivastava. “Even non-peak hour traffic is quite heavy now, so it would be affected too.”

Routes to be taken by the 200 delegates have been marked and traffic will be stopped when they move, largely between the 13 venues.

Many Delhiites aware of the traffic advisory said they didn't know if they should be heading for the affected areas at all.

“I would rather stay home than risk getting stuck in a traffic jam,” said Tania Roy, a Rohini resident who’d planned to visit Connaught Place.

“This is just for a day,” said Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi. “Such restrictions are made in all countries that host mega sporting events.”

Kalmadi was quick to clarify, though, that Delhiites won’t face such restrictions during the Games. “There will be a dedicated lane for athletes and games officials,” he said.

Games officials also clarified that the inspections won’t determine the fate of the venues or of Delhi as host. The Games will be held here next October.