Sunday, January 31, 2010

Karni Singh shooting venue for CWG Inaugurated

The second Commonwealth Games venue Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range was inaugurated on Sunday. The venue has been upgraded and renovated with an investment of Rs 150 crore in 13 months.

All the existing structures were demolished and new ranges with state-of-the-art technology were constructed. The earlier separate ranges for trap and skeet were converted into new composite ranges for trap and skeet with state-of-the-art scoring equipment. Before the Games in October, the Commonwealth Shooting Championship will be held at these ranges from February 17-28.

The renovated range spread over 72 acres in the backdrop of Adilabad Fort will have centrally air-conditioned indoor shooting range with 80 shooting points and a seating capacity of 500.

A new Flying Club at Mahendragarh, Haryana

Delhi might not have a fully operational flying club any longer but if you’re willing to drive about a 100 km out of town, you will find a brand new aero sports club in Mahendragarh, Haryana.

On Sunday, while paragliding, parasailing, skydiving and hot-air ballooning took place all around him, Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced the opening of the Rajiv Gandhi National Centre for Aero Sports at Bachhaud air strip near Narnaul, Mahendragarh. The centre will work towards giving youngsters a platform from which to understand the science of aviation, and also to get up close and personal with the more adventurous side of aviation.

Captain Satish Sharma, chairman of the Aero Club of India, stood side by side with the CM as the aero centre was declared open.

The centre, named after late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has been set up by the Department of Civil Aviation, Haryana, in collaboration with the Aero Club of India. The centre will be developed along international lines and, it is hoped, will help give a fillip to India’s participation at world aero sports events. Up to now our participation in such events has been woefully limited.

Sanction has already been given for the purchase of an ultra-modern, multi-engine simulator at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore to help better training facilities at Karnal. It has also been proposed that a flying training academy be set up in the state. In addition, air strips at Pinjore, Narnaul, Hisar and Bhiwani will be further developed.

The centre, it is planned, will provide cheap training and facilities to the people who cannot afford it by charging more from the people who can afford it and who dabble in aero sports as a hobby.

On Sunday too, everybody was invited for a dekho. All you had to do was look up at the sky and daredevil performances of skydiving, paragliding, parasailing, hotair ballooning and aero-modelling enthralled everybody who had come to take a look. The star of the show was 17-year-old village girl Monu, who took everyone’s breath away with a very courageous display of parasailing. The class XII girl was later given a special Rs 51,000 grant for her performance.

Addressing the people who had gathered on Sunday, Hooda said the underlying idea behind setting up the centre was to get youth from the state trained in adventurous aero sports.

In the beginning, the youth will be imparted training in parajumping, parasailing, gliding, hot-air ballooning and micro-light flying at the centre, he said, adding that more adventurous sports would be added to the teaching list later.

The Chief Minister pointed out that three Civil Aviation Department centres were functioning at Karnal, Pinjore and Hisar, which had been training youth from the state to serve with air services both inside the country and outside.

More facilities would be provided for the air strips at Pinjore, Narnaul, Hisar and Bhiwani, he added. The Chief Minister announced a grant of Rs 1 crore each for the development of Mirzapur and Bachhaud villages, which have provided the land for the centre. It was also announced that a road would soon be constructed to link the centre with National Highway-8.
Captain Satish Sharma, Member of Parliament and president, Aero Club of India, said a hangar would soon be built at the aero sports centre.

In a hit & run case Laborer dies at Metro site

A 25-year-old man originally from Sundergarh in Orissa died at a Metro construction site on Sunday evening after a portion of the crane he was standing under fell on him. ‘‘An iron plate fell on the deceased Vipin as he was busy working right under it. Vipin was rushed to the hospital where he was declared brought dead. We have registered a case of negligence against the contractor and are investigating the case,’’ said DCP (west) Sharad Aggarwal.

The Metro authorities, however, claimed that it was a hit-and-run incident. ‘‘The laborer was trying to cross the road when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle. He died on the spot,’’ said a DMRC spokesperson.

The incident took place near Paschim Vihar in west Delhi around 7pm on Sunday. ‘‘The victim has been identified as a laborer who had joined works just a couple of months ago. He was taken to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where he was declared brought dead,’’ said the investigating officer. In another incident, unidentified armed robbers struck a Metro construction site here and decamped with electric goods and scrap worth lakhs of rupees after taking security guard into hostage, police said on Sunday.

The incident was reported from the construction site in N-Block Sarita Vihar. The robbers took away 22 KV tower material and 50 kg scrap from the site. They came in a tempo and when they tried to enter the site, a guard tried to resist but was threatened by them. The material which was robbed includes electric poles to be erected on Metro route. Police have recorded the statement of the guard and officers and probing the matter.

Shooters hire coach with own expenses

The men’s hockey team showed the way a few weeks ago and the women followed in their footsteps. Now, the shooters have got officialdom in their sights and are proving that where there is a will, there is indeed a way.

The latest message, this time to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), comes from six top pistol shooters who’ve hired a foreign coach to train them at the national camp. With NRAI unable to recruit a coach to replace Hungarian Czaba Gyorik who left after the Beijing Olympics, the shooters have availed of the services of a top coach, with each spending around Rs 50,000 a month.

‘‘How long should we wait? The authorities can take their own time but the competition dates won’t change. Now, we’re spending from our pockets to pay renowned coach Anatoli Poddubni of Ukraine for his expertise,’’ Samaresh Jung, nicknamed ‘Goldfinger’ for his medal haul in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, told

New coach hired for 6 months

After having suffered without a coach for 18 months, pistol shooters Samresh Jung, Ronak Pandit, Amanpreet Singh, Heena Sidhu, Ruchit Kapadia and Upasana Parasrampuria have hired their own coach, Anatoli Poddubni of Ukraine, and training under him. Poddubni, who coached the Soviets to world domination and has earlier worked with Pandit, has been roped in for a six-month term.

‘‘With NRAI unable to find a coach, I was planning to get him (Poddubni) back. When I discussed this with other shooters, they agreed. With the help of the Mumbai Suburban District Rifle Association (MSDRA), we managed to get him. We pay him approximately $2500-3,000 a month. Plus, we have to meet other expenses, including boarding and lodging,’’ Ronak, son of renowned shooter and president of MSDRA, Ashok Pandit, said. Incidentally, MSDRA helped the foreigner get a work permit.

Jung said he had not been shooting great scores since the Beijing Games as he was struggling without proper guidance. ‘‘I was not making much headway and was planning to go abroad to train when Ronak came up with this idea. It’s great to have such an experienced coach who has helped the likes of Moscow Olympic gold medallist Aleksandr Melentiev,’’ Jung said.

‘‘The Army has two coaches to train its shooters but there is no coach for the national squad which forced us to act,” Jung added, explaining the plight of civilian shooters. Interestingly, NRAI is now trying hard to recruit Melentiev to fill the vacant pistol coach’s slot. Knowing the pace at which files move between federations and government departments, the other shooters should be prepared to wait for weeks before the new coach arrives in India.

National shooting coach Sunny Thomas confirmed that NRAI decided to bring in Melentiev. ‘‘We expect to finalize Melentiev’s appointment at the next meeting of the CWG steering committee in February,’’ Thomas said.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Delhi Mayor Wants City Clean before Games

Delhi mayor Kanwar Sain directed civic officials on Friday to prepare a master plan for making the city garbage-free before the Commonwealth Games later this year and requested the Delhi government to clear an anti-littering law pending with it.

Sain said the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) should adopt a double-prong strategy to deal with the situation make the public aware about the need to keep Delhi clean and take deterrent action to prevent littering and creation of unsanitary conditions. He directed the municipal commissioner to prepare a master plan to achieve the goals.

The MCD has already launched a sanitation awareness campaign, which will be intensified, he said.

The mayor said the MCD should also intensify prosecution action against littering and urged municipal magistrates to pay special attention in this regard.

Sain appealed to the Delhi government to clear Delhi Cleanliness and Sanitation Byelaws, 2009, pending with it for the past six months. He said the MCD had approved it in May 2009 and subsequently sent it for approval of and notification by the Delhi government.

Race against Time claimed one more life at CWG Village

The race to complete Commonwealth Games venues on time took another life on Thursday night when a 23-year-old construction worker died at a DDA mega housing project in Vasant Kunj. Nakimuddin Ahmad fell from the seventh floor of the under-construction building, his head hitting the iron scaffolding put up around the building three floors down. He died of the injuries to his head, said police.

Laborers at the construction site said they are hard pressed to meet deadlines and are working in shifts. ‘‘We have been asked to speed up work and several safety measures are being overlooked,” said Meer Hul, one of the workers. The Rs 200 crore, 10-storey project, which will have nearly 3,000 flats, is being built by Brahmaputra Infrastructure Limited. The flats will house Games participants.

Police said Ahmad had been standing on the seventh floor, using a trolley to lift bags of sand from the ground floor.

‘‘It was about 8pm and the contractor had provided no lights to work under. Nor did Ahmad have a safety belt. Ahmad was picking up the bags from the trolley when it fell, dragging him down with it,” said a senior police officer.

He added, ‘‘Another worker who was working on the eighth floor saw Ahmad falling and rushed to save him but by the time he got there, Ahmad was dead,” added the police officer.

Ahmad’s elder brother Zakir Hussain, who works as a supplier at the site, said, ‘‘My brother came to Delhi three months ago. We have all been working hard to finish the project on time. There is very few safety measures observed during construction.” Ahmad, a native of West Bengal, is survived by his parents and a sister. He was paid a daily wage of Rs 125.

Police said they have registered a case of death due to negligence against the contractor and are investigating the matter.

When contacted, the project manager of the housing project, Satish Pal Singh, told Times City, ‘‘I am out of town but will get back to you soon.” Despite repeated efforts, officials at the office of the construction company refused to make a statement.

Wrestling venue ready, shooting Venue by Next Sunday

It seems the nervous delays about Games venues is now a thing of the past. Five days after the first venue, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, was officially opened, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Friday inaugurated the Ludlow Castle wrestling training centre.

Next Sunday, Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range, the venue for shooting events, is scheduled to be officially completed. Two more stadia, Thyagraj and Chhatarsal would also be ready by March. PWD announced that it will also complete two infrastructure projects related to the Games every month.

Ludlow Castle wrestling training centre is the first venue built by Delhi government. ‘‘The wrestlers of the capital now have a great training facility. Once the Games are over, it will be very useful for children too,’’ Dikshit said.

Though the government had sanctioned Rs 20 crore, the project was completed at a cost of Rs 13 crore in 11 months. The venue was built after demolishing the badminton hall. The ground floor has various facilities such as restrooms, gym, cafeteria, physiotherapy centers, doping control centre, changing rooms, sauna bath and a medical centre. The first floor has a training hall, which can accommodate six wrestling mats at a time.

Last Sunday, the revamped Dhyan Chand Stadium was opened by Union sports minister M S Gill while both Dikshit and Kalmadi were reportedly not invited. However, on Friday, while both Dikshit and Kalmadi were present, Gill was missing. ‘‘This is a minor issue,’’ Dikshit told reporters.

Despite the progress, the CM said that it would be difficult to complete all projects related to the Commonwealth Games 2010 in the next eight months. ‘‘We need to work hard. There will be no excuse of rain or heat for delay in completing all projects. But I believe we will complete the work,’’ she said.

The CM also asked school students to be prepared to work as volunteers during the Games. Delhi government would provide 10,000 school guides for the inaugural function.

Praising Dikshit for her wholehearted support, Kalmadi claimed that the Games would be the best one so far. ‘‘It will be better than the Melbourne Games. We will try to bring the Olympics in 2020,’’ he added.

Central nod soon for Gurgaon Private Metro Link

The much-awaited private Metro link in Gurgaon, which will act as a feeder to the main Delhi Metro line, would soon become a reality as Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy announced that the final approval for the project will be granted soon. The file has been pending with his department for several months. A new Metro line to Manesar is also being proposed.

Speaking at the inauguration of a trial run on the Delhi Metro line to Gurgaon, Reddy said Metro is India’s future mode of commute as urbanization is an inevitable phenomenon. Over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, while in India it’s just 30%.

‘‘We need to bring about a change in mindsets. The Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is one of the best elevated roads in the country. But it still took me over 40 minutes to get here. Public transport is the future. We are soon considering a formal sanction of the private Metro line in Gurgaon,’’ Reddy said.

Pushing for the private link, DMRC managing director E Sreedharan said: ‘‘The private Metro link being planned in Gurgaon should be taken up at the earliest as this will act as an effective feeder to Delhi Metro. The link is expected to bring an additional 1 lakh commuter to the main Delhi Metro system.’’

Even as a Letter of Award was granted to a consortium of IL & FS and DLF Metro in July last year and a foundation stone was also laid for the line a month later, the construction has not started as the approval of the urban development ministry is awaited. A Special Purpose Vehicle, Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon, has been formed to construct and operate the system, which will come up on a PPP model. From the time that the final approval comes, the line will take about 30 months to get operational.

It will be integrated with the Delhi Metro Gurgaon line at Sikandarpur Metro station through a foot-over-bridge and the SPV is also working on a system of integrated ticketing between the two modes for seamless connectivity. The frequency will always be synchronized with the Delhi Metro system to ensure that passengers don’t have to wait for long.

The private Metro line will be five-km long in the first phase and will have six stops at Sikandarpur, DLF-2, Belvedere Park, Gateway Tower, Mall of India and DLF-3. The project will come up at a cost of Rs 900 crore and trains will operate at a frequency of about four minutes to start with.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

CWG Overseas Promotion Campaign Curtailed

Planning Commission has turned down tourism ministry’s demand for an additional Rs 50 crore for overseas promotion of Commonwealth Games and has instead cut down its budget. The ministry had asked for a hike of Rs 50 crore for special promotion keeping in view the forthcoming Games but is now faced with a budget cut of Rs 50 crore.

The lack of coordinated publicity before a high profile sporting event could end up damaging the whole purpose of hosting the Games and pitching India as a tourist destination, the ministry feels. The ministry’s budget was Rs 1,000 crore for 2009-2010. Of this, Rs 250 crore was allocated for overseas marketing and promotion while Rs 60 crore was left for domestic promotion. “Plan panel has not only rejected our demand for more funds but also cut our budget from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 950 crore,” a source said.

On CWG Federation website, Gujarat and J&K part of Pakistan

In the latest controversy to agitate relations between the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Organizing Committee (OC) of the Delhi Games 2010, the former put up a distorted map of India on its website, leaving the latter to do the firefighting even as the country celebrated Republic Day.

The map, which showed parts of the country Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat as integral to neighboring Pakistan, was taken off the site ( only after a strong protest was lodged.

Said OC spokesperson Lalit Bhanot, ‘‘We spoke to the CGF officials immediately after we got to know of the mistake. It was taken off right after that.’’ Bhanot said a formal complaint hadn’t been lodged yet, but the issue would be taken up on Wednesday. ‘‘Our first priority was to ensure that the map was taken off the website. We will now follow up on why such a thing happened, especially as the website is maintained by CGF.’’

Bhanot, however, was quick to point out that there was no malafide intention involved. ‘‘I’m sure it wasn’t a deliberate attempt by the CGF, rather a mistake. But we would definitely like to know why such a mistake was committed,’’ said Bhanot, who is also the OC secretary general.

Boundary Issues

CGF put up distorted map on website, causing red faces on Republic Day
Organizing Committee sounds out CGF. Map removed only after strong protest lodged
OC secy-gen says no complaint registered yet, “sure it wasn’t deliberate” but panel will take up issue with CGF on Wednesday CGF-OC ties strained over last few months
New Delhi: The India map goof up by the Commonwealth Games Federation apart, its relations with the Organizing Committee have been strained over the past few months since the Delhi Games 2010 came under international spotlight for tardy preparations. The OC had maintained that work was on schedule and that some of CGF representatives in Delhi were far from cooperative.

Incidentally, the CGF has been represented by its chief operating officer, Mike Hooper, for almost a year in Delhi now. Hooper will also be part of discussion, added OC officials.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

UK is expected to send team of 1500 athletes and officials

Scotland Yard is likely to be involved in securing the Delhi Commonwealth Games to protect the British contingent. Nearly, 1,500 competitors and officials from the UK will participate in the Games, making it by far the largest presence from any country, said Ann Hogbin, chief executive of England Commonwealth Games Association (ECGA).

There will be 387 English athletes for the Games, Hogbin said, dismissing talk of the contingent opting out. ‘‘There is no uncertainty about England taking part and we are looking forward to doing so.’’

Last month, a section of the British press speculated that England may pull out on security concerns. Apart from Scotland Yard, ECGA has obtained advice from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Jon Doig, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland (CGCS), said security at the Delhi Games was an important issue and that CGCS had been receiving guidance from a range of people, including Scotland Yard. But he stressed his side’s preparations were on track and 200 Scottish sportspersons would be competing at the event. Chris Jenkins, chef de mission of a 170-member Wales squad, said: ‘‘We have raised security with the Met Police, Delhi Police and the CGFs consultants and have been reassured. It will be safe and spectacular Games.’’

Northern Ireland will be the fourth British contingent at Delhi. Beginning next month and up to May, British athletes will feature at test events at the various venues.

British Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) for 2010 CWG Security

Crack members of the British Metropolitan Police, popularly known as Scotland Yard, are likely to be involved in securing the Delhi Commonwealth Games scheduled for October. This would at the very least be to protect the British contingent, numbering more than 1500, officials included. The event is perceived to face a threat from terrorists who wish to depict India as an unsafe venue.

Caroline Searle, spokesperson for the England Commonwealth Games Association (ECGA), confirmed that Scotland Yard would be in Delhi during the Games. ‘‘We anticipate Met Police support throughout the Games, but what form that help will take has yet to be decided.’’

‘‘The England team for the Delhi Commonwealth Games will be the biggest ever to participate in any overseas event,’’ said Ann Hogbin, chief executive of ECGA.

Scotland Yard has been working with Delhi Police and other agencies associated with security for the Games since officers from the Yard visited Delhi in August.

Flats are ready at Commonwealth Games Village

Flats are ready at 2010 Commonwealth Games residential complex. It is designed and developed by Emaar MGF.

Some Salient Features:

Adjacent to Akshardham Temple
Next to Metro Station
Adjoining DDA Sports Complex
Clubhouse, 30M lap pool, tennis, basket ball courts
Health club and Gym
Community centre
State of the art security system
100% power Backup

Moolchand – Delhi Gate BRT to become operational before 2010 CWG

The under-construction portion of the pilot Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor from Moolchand to Delhi Gate will become operational before Commonwealth Games.

Chief minister Shiela Dikshit said on Wednesday that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the second corridor from Shastri Park to Karawal Nagar is almost complete too, and learning from their past experiences, the government has ensured that this corridor would be very different from the South Delhi one.

‘‘The construction of the remaining part of the pilot BRT corridor is complete. It will be started soon, well before Commonwealth Games. The other corridor from Karawal Nagar to Shastri Park will also come up soon,’’ said Dikshit, at the sidelights of a symposium on BRT systems organized by Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit Systems on Wednesday. She added that the next BRT corridor will be constructed keeping in view the experiences and feedback received from all concerned sections as BRT is ‘‘bound to cater to local needs’’.

The new corridor is being planned on the eastern side of Yamuna pushta. The 8.65-km long corridor was initially planned from Shastri Park to Karawal Nagar, which has now been extended to Usmanpur. ‘‘The corridor is expected to be used by a population of about 5 lakh people, of which a majority have an average household income of less than Rs 5,000 per month. The number of cars are also lesser than the average in Delhi. Now, we have proposed to extend the corridor from Karawal Nagar to Gandhi Nagar and add another link from Bhajanpura to Mori Gate to it,’’ said Alok Bhardwaj, Head of Transportation Planning, DIMTS.

The corridor is expected to carry about one lakh persons per day as per ridership studies. Learning from the first experience, bus lanes from both directions will be located on one side of the road and pedestrian footpaths and cycle tracks are being provided to cater to the heavy rush of non-motorized vehicles and people. The bus shelters will be closed, unlike the ones in the pilot corridor, and systems like off-board ticketing based on smart cards, passenger information system (PIS) and Global Positioning System in buses will be fitted before the corridor starts.

The government seems to be learning from the BRT fiasco. Delhi transport commissioner RK Verma said BRT was a concept that Delhi government had turned down at first. ‘‘If we want BRT to become successful, we need to adapt it to the needs of people in the area where it is being implemented.’’

Here Comes Radio cabs for Delhi and NCR

Starting Thursday, commuters will be able to hire radio cabs to travel between Delhi and the satellite townships of Noida and Ghaziabad. In a major step towards facilitation of movement between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the first radio taxi operator from the capital will start plying taxis to NCR towns after the two states agreed to countersign permits of cabs. So far, people could take cabs only till the border.

Even after all the states forming part of NCR had signed the draft Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement last year, its implementation was not possible due to inter-departmental issues. Even radio cabs from the city could only ply till the border. On Wednesday, one operator Meru Cabs was given the green signal to operate cabs between Delhi and Noida, Ghaziabad after both states countersigned the permits.

‘‘After deliberations that lasted months, we have finally managed to resolve the issue for free movement of radio cabs between Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad. The cabs can start operations from Thursday,’’ said a senior transport department official. The final formalities were completed after representatives from transport departments of both the states met on Wednesday and sorted out the differences.

The cabs will not be required to pay any additional taxes so people will enjoy services at the existing fare slab of Rs 15/km. Those taking toll roads, however, will have to pay extra for the toll charges. The cabs will have an NCR logo and a green band running across the width of the vehicle.

The permits will be handed over to the operator on Thursday morning. ‘‘We have issued fresh permits to Meru Cabs limited with provisions for all other states to countersign. The permits are approved and ready. They can start operations from Thursday,’’ said Lalji Choudhary of the Ghaziabad Regional Transport Office (RTO).

The cab operator, meanwhile, said they have started upgrading their systems to
cater to the added rush. ‘‘We are very excited to start our services in the growing market in Noida areas. We are getting our systems and processes ready so commuters may face some delays in the first few days of operations,’’ said a spokesperson for Meru Cabs.

The move comes soon after Delhi Metro started train operations to Noida and then till Anand Vihar border, which will soon be extended to Vaishali, and redefined commuting in this region.

Traffic Police is working on a Better plan for CWG

CM Sheila Dikshit today said police is working out a plan for better traffic circulation during the Commonwealth Games, noting that smooth transportation of sportspersons to venues will be the most important aspect.

"A traffic plan is being worked out by police. Delhi has the advantage of being round, so there are a lot of alternative routes available," she told reporters on the sidelines of a symposium on public transport here.

"Transporting athletes to their venue or stadia will be the most important aspect," Dikshit said.

Transport Commissioner R K Verma said the transport system is being improved gradually. "Before the Games, we will run 10,000 buses, there will be more Delhi Metro lines and we hope more people will shift from cars to public transport."

He said the focus will be on effective use of existing space and potential.

MCD working hard to present Delhi as a clean city

Asking the MCD to make all efforts to present Delhi as a clean city during the Commonwealth Games, the Delhi government on Wednesday told the civic agency that "no leniency in sanitation arrangements" will be tolerated.

Delhi Finance Minister AK Walia told the BJP-ruled MCD to strictly implement the Action Plan for sanitation which was prepared after a brain-storming session with various stakeholders.

Walia told the MCD officials, in a meeting today, that no leniency in sanitation arrangements will be tolerated as city government was making all efforts to present Delhi as a clean and green city.

The MCD has been asked to take suitable steps in ensuring that no unattended and un-collected waste is found in any area under its operation.

As per the approved Action Plan, the MCD will be responsible for collection of waste from different venues and then they will have to put them in packets in different bags.

The civic agency will collect the wastes from the bins and transport it to the processing plants.

The MCD will install 'Deep Collection System' bins in all the venues of the Games. The waste from these bins will be collected mechanically through cranes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Delhi Metro Signals Green for IGI tunnel under runway

Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan is learnt to have agreed to Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) request for building the runway-tunnel link from Dwarka roundabout to a road leading to the upcoming terminal (T3). DMRC has sought an advance deposit of Rs 35 crore, roughly half of the total cost of the 1.5-km-long and six-lane link with a 343-metre tunnel that will pass under IGI’s main runway. AAI, said sources, will ask the Delhi government to release this amount to them so that the work can begin at the earliest.

Sreedharan conveyed his consent last Friday. DMRC has sought Rs 35 crore immediately to begin preliminary investigation and preparatory work, said a relieved top AAI official. Metro had initially expressed reservation about taking up the project as its hands were full in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games. But given Metro’s expertise in tunnelling work, the aviation ministry was very keen that it agrees. So AAI chairman V P Agrawal took up the issue with Sreedharan. Now DMRC will be building both high-speed rail and new road link to T3.

The aviation ministry is according top priority to this project as it has to be ready much before the Commonwealth Games in October. Last Friday, after getting reedharan’s consent to take up the job, it sent the proposal to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for approval. The regulator is will examine the technical details as it passes under an operational runway. The tunnel will pass under the area that houses the approach lights of the main runway (28), next to the famous Jumbo Point.

IGI’s runway tunnel will be the first hi-tech dream of AAI taking concrete shape. There are three other fancy plans for extending runways. In Kullu, it plans to extend the existing air strip by making a bridge over the river Beas that flows next to the airport. Similarly, there are plans to extend Lakshwadeep’s runway by linking two islands through a sea link. And finally, to ease congestion at Mumbai’s main airport, it wants to extend the runway at Juhu airport by covering the road ahead of the airstrip. Traffic is planned to be routed through an underground tunnel below the extended runway.

‘‘All these plans are in different stages of conception. But Delhi is a flashpoint as T3 has to handle all international and domestic traffic in a few months. So, having just one approach road to the terminal is a recipe for jams. We simply had to do something before the Commonwealth Games and came upon this idea. In fact, this plan was the last to be conceived and will be the first to be implemented,’’ said a senior AAI official.

Monday, January 18, 2010

OC CWG Slams NDMC for Color Correction

Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) has asked New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to remove the purple and pink wrap around the Commonwealth Games headquarter building in Connaught Place. The wrap had been described by the Games organizing committee (OC) as a ‘‘branding exercise’’.

The building wrap was seen as an act of ‘‘vandalism’’ by the architect of the building, Kuldip Singh. Singh had said that the colors used and the method of branding is an affront to the aesthetics of the city, a fact other urban planners and architects had agreed with.

DUAC chairman K T Ravindran said: ‘‘we had written a letter to NDMC a while back to remove the wall wrap as it serves no purpose. The building was designed keeping a specific purpose in mind and the wall wrap is like a blemish on it. No such thing has been seen anywhere else in the world. Since the wall wrap is a sticker, it can be removed easily. NDMC is yet to act.’’ NDMC spokesman Anand Tiwari, when contacted, said that he was not aware of the letter.

OC spokesman Lalit Bhanot said: ‘‘We are the tenants of the building. The building is owned by NDMC so it is for them to take action. We have not been informed about any DUAC order to this effect.’’ Singh had written a letter to the organizing committee, Commonwealth Games on this matter on March 6, 2009, besides registering his protest with the New Delhi Municipal Council. When he did not get a response from either agency he approached DUAC in November 2009.

Singh said: ‘‘No action has been taken in the matter. I don’t know if NDMC has succeeded in communicating the orders to the organizing committee, which has covered the walls from top to bottom with garish colors in the name of Games logo.”

Australia Needs own Security for 2010 Games- Slap on Delhi Police

Jittery about their security in India, the Australian delegation for 2010's Commonwealth Games in Delhi will be accompanied by the country's Federal Police.

"Traveling there (in India) is something you are always going to have to be very careful doing. We need to talk through how we are going to bring people in and how we're going to bring athletes out," Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief Perry Crosswhite was quoted as saying in media reports.

"This will be the first time if they are going into the Games village with us. They'll have a couple of people attached to the team, not guarding the team but basically helping with briefings on security, with advice on where athletes should go, what they should wear, that sort of thing," he said.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

To Attract Foreign Tourists 50% visa fee waiver as an Incentive

Taking a leaf out of its slogan ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’, the tourism ministry is likely to waive off 50% of the visa fee charged from visitors of Commonwealth nations as an incentive to boost foreign tourist arrivals. This is part of its effort to incentives tourism to India for the Commonwealth Games to be held in October.

“We are considering a proposal to waive off 50% of the visa fee. The expense will be borne by the tourism ministry,” a source said. The move comes after the positive response to ‘Visit India 2009’ promotion where major stakeholders like hospitality partners, tour operators and others had offered schemes and promotions in addition to what the visitor paid for. The visa fee waiver will supplement the promotions and the ministry is already in talks with hotels, travel agents and tour operators for extending these incentives for another year.

There are 54 members of the Commonwealth of nations of which visitors from UK, Australia and Canada form a large part of India’s tourist inflow. India received 5.11 million tourists of which 0.5 million come from Commonwealth nations.

CS Gurgaon Metro line trials from Jan 29 2010

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is starting trial runs on the Gurgaon stretch of the Central Secretariat to HUDA City Centre line from January 29. The trial train will be flagged off by Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Urban development minister Jaipal Reddy.

The trial runs will cover a distance of about 11km — from the last stop in Gurgaon at HUDA City Centre to IFFCO Chowk, MG Road, Sikandarpur, Guru Dronacharya, Arjangarh, Ghitorni and Sultanpur Metro stations.

The trials were supposed to be on the Gurgaon portion of the line, which starts at the Guru Dronacharya station. But the train depot which is a must for an operational line is located at Sultanpur for this stretch. DMRC is yet to fix a date for opening of the line, but the idea is to make the entire stretch operational by June this year.

CM avoids beef question CWG

CM Sheila Dikshit refused on Friday to be drawn into the controversy over whether beef should be served to sportspersons during the Commonwealth Games but said they will be provided with high-calorie food.

“Our aim is to provide calorific food. That’s all,” Dikshit said when asked about former BJP chief Rajnath Singh’s request that beef should be kept off the menu.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

3rd Phase of Delhi Metro needs 600 crores from Delhi Government

Cash-strapped Delhi government has now been told that it would need to cough up approximately Rs 600 crore for the third phase of Delhi Metro. This, after Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) reportedly expressed a reluctance to fund more than 30% of phase III. JBIC had given 70% of the funds for phases I and II.

Metro’s third phase which will cover 85 km will include areas like Vasant Kunj, Saket, Malviya Nagar and South Extension. According to a senior finance department official, the central government has recently told the city government that it is willing to bear half of the remaining cost of the project while the other half will need to be borne by Delhi government.

‘‘This additional demand at a time when we are already short of funds, has caused some alarm,’’ the official said. JBIC’s diminishing benevolence had been a matter of concern for some time now. The CM had written to the UD ministry questioning the logic of DDA not investing on development of the city when it reaps profit from the development projects.

Lack of funds Jama Masjid facelift work to miss deadline

Lack of funds is likely to delay the Jama Masjid re-development plan and it may now not be completed before the Commonwealth Games.

MCD commissioner KS Mehra had recently written to LG Tejender Khanna seeking Rs 20 crore as additional funds for the project. The Delhi government, too, had promised to bear one-third of the total project cost. ‘‘However, the government is yet to release any money. We are hoping that funds are made available soon. We will divide the work in phases so that some part of the work is completed before the Games,’’ said a senior MCD official. MCD’s Chandni Chowk re-development plan too has been stuck due to paucity of funds.

Civic agency and planners say that it was ambitious on part of the administration to have set a Games deadline for the Jama Masjid plan. ‘‘Jama Masjid re-development is a very sensitive project. Even if we had the fund flow, the Commonwealth Games deadline would still have been unrealistic,’’ the official said. The two major stakeholders of the project — 633 shopkeepers of Meena Bazaar and the traders of Dargah Sheikh Kallimullah — had recently given their consensus to the project. ‘‘It took us 50-odd meetings with them to finally come to a consensus on the redevelopment plan,’’ added the official.

Best Affordable hotels for stay during 2010 Games

Planning to visit India in 2010 for commonwealth games and still unsure about where to stay in Delhi and other accommodation options available, we present here a list of some quality and affordable accommodation in NCR region

Best Affordable Hotels in Delhi For 2010 Commonwealth Games

Five Star Deluxe Hotels of New Delhi

Radisson Hotel, New Delhi
Address: National Highway 8, New Delhi -110 037 Near IGI Airport
Location: IGI Airport : 3 KM, Domestic Airport : 3 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 12 KM

Hotel Le Meridien
Address: Windsor Place New Delhi-110001 India Connaught Place
Location: IGI Airport : 18 KM, Domestic Airport : 14 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 2 KM

Taj Palace Hotel:
Address :Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave New Delhi-110021 Inndia
Location : IGI Airport : 15 KM, Domestic Airport : 10 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 8 KM

Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi
Address: Diplomatic Enclave, 50-B, Chanakyapuri New Delhi-110021 India
Location: IGI Airport : 15 KM, Domestic Airport : 10 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 9 KM

Park Royal Intercontinental Hotel
Address: S-2, American Plaza, International Trade Tower, Nehru Place, New Delhi
Location: 20 kms. from International Airport; 10 kms. from Railway Station; 22 kms. from Bus Stand

Claridges Hotel
Address: 12, Aurangzeb Road New Delhi-110011, Near India Gate
Location: IGI Airport : 18 KM, Palam Domestic Airport : 14 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 5 KM

Hotel Shangri La, New Delhi
Address: 19 Ashoka Road, Connaught Place New Delhi-110001 India
Location: IGI Airport : 20 KM, Domestic Airport : 15 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 2 KM

Park Hotel, New Delhi
Address: 15 Parliament Street, New Delhi -110001 City Center
Location: IGI Airport : 12 KM, Domestic Airport : 12 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 6 KM

Hotel Oberoi
Address :Dr. Zakir Hussain Road, New Delhi-110003 India Near Humayun Tomb
Location: IGI Airport : 22 KM, Domestic Airport : 17 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 10 KM

Hotel Crowne Plaza Surya
Address: New Friends Colony, Near Humayun Tomb, New Delhi-110025 India
Location: IGI Airport : 22 KM, Domestic Airport : 18 KM, Nizamuddin Railway Station : 3 KM

Hotel Maurya Sheraton
Address: Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Marg, New Delhi-110021 India Near Chanakyapuri
Location: IGI Airport : 15 KM, Domestic Airport : 7 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 10 KM

Hotel Taj Mahal
Address: 1, Mansingh Road, Near India Gate, New Delhi-110011 India
Location: IGI Airport : 20 KM, Palam Domestic Airport : 15 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 5

Grand Hotel
Address: Vasant Kunj – Phase II, Nelson Mandela Road New Delhi-110070 Near Vasant Vihar
Location: IGI Airport : 8 KM, Palam Domestic Airport : 12 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 18 KM

Hotel Centaur
Address:Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport New Delhi-110037 India
Location: IGI Airport : 1 KM, Palam Domestic Airport : 4 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 22 KM

The Manor Hotel
Address:77 Friends Colony (West) New Delhi – 110065 Friends Colony
Location: IGI Airport : 15 KM, Domestic Airport : 15 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 8 KM

Uppal Orchid (Ecotel Hotel)
Address: National Highway 8, Near IGI Airport New Delhi-110037 India
Location: IGI Airport : 4 KM, Palam Domestic Airport : 7 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 24 KM

Park Royal Inter Connential Hotel
Address: S-2, American Plaza, International Trade Tower, Nehru Place
Location: 20 kms. from International Airport; 10 kms. from Railway Station; 22 kms. from Bus Stand

Hotel Ambassador
Address: Sujan Singh Park, Cornwallis Road New Delhi-110003 India Near India Gate
Location: IGI Airport : 22 KM, Domestic Airport : 17 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 6 KM

Hotel Samrat
Address: Kautilya Marg New Delhi-110021 India Near Chanakyapuri
Location: IGI Airport : 15 KM, Palam Domestic Airport : 10 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 9 KM

Hotel Qutab
Address: Shaheed Jeet Singh Marg, New Delhi-110016 India Near Qutub Minar
Location: IGI Airport : 15 KM, Palam Domestic Airport : 12 KM, New Delhi

Hyatt Regency Hotel
Address: Bhikaiji Cama Place, Ring Road, New Delhi-110066 India
Location: IGI Airport : 16 KM, Domestic Airport : 12 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 14 KM
Four Star Hotels in New Delhi

Hotel Oberoi Maidens
Address: 7, Sham Nath Marg New Delhi-110054 India Near Old Delhi Railway Station
Location: IGI Airport : 24 KM, Domestic Airport : 20 KM, Old Delhi Railway Station : 4 KM

Hotel Diplomat
Address:9, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave New Delhi-110021 India Near Chanakyapuri
Location: IGI Airport : 18 KM, Domestic Aiport : 13 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 6 KM

Ashok Country Resort New Delhi
Address: Rajokri Road, Kapashera, New Delhi- 110 037 Near IGI Airport
Location: IGI Airport : 4 KM, Domestic Airport : 10 KM

Jukaso Inn New Delhi
Address: 48 & 49, Sunder Nagar,I.T.O, New Delhi, Delhi City Center
Location: IGI Airport : 15 KM, Domestic Airport : 12 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 1 KM

Hotel Marina
Address: G-59, Connaught Circus New Delhi-110001 India
Location: IGI Airport : 20 KM, Domestic Airport : 15 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 1 KM

Hotel Shervani
Address: 11, Sunder Nagar New Delhi-110003 Cannaught Place
Location: 18 kms : International Airport, 12 kms : Domestic Airport, 10 kms : Conference Venue

Hotel Janpath
Address: Janpath Hotel, Janpath New Delhi – 110 001
Location: IGI Airport : 22 KM, Domestic Airport : 20 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 2 KM

Siddarth Hotel
3, Rajendra Place New Delhi-110008 India Near Karol Bagh
Location: IGI Airport : 19 KM, Domestic Airport : 10 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 4 KM

City Park Hotel
Address: Pitampura New Delhi-110088 India
Location: IGI Airport : 25 KM, Domestic Airport : 20 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 16 KM

Hotel Avalon Courtyard
Address: Mehrauli Gurgaon road, Mehrauli, New Delhi 110030 India
Location: I.G.I. Airport : 14 Km, Rail way station : 18 Km

Hotel Shervani
Address:Cannaught Place 11, Sunder Nagar New Delhi-110003
Location: 18 kms : International Airport, 12 kms : Domestic Airport, 10 kms : Conference Venue

Hotel Hans Plaza
Address: Hansalaya Building, 15, Barakhamba Road Connaught Place, New Delhi-110001 India
Location: IGI Airport : 20 KM, Palam Domestic Airport : 16 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 2 KM

Hotel Alka
Address: P Block, Connaught Circus New Delhi-110001 India
Location: IGI Airport : 20 KM, Domestic Airport : 14 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 1 KM

Three Star Hotels

Hotel Tourist Deluxe
Address: 7361, Ram Nagar, Qutab Road Paharganj New Delhi 110 055 Chanakyapuri
Location: IGI Airport : 16 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 1.5 KM

Hotel Shani Palace
Address: Near I.G International Airport A-67, Mahipalpur Extn. National Highway 8
Location: IGI Airport : 3 KM, Domestic Airport : 3 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 22 KM

Hotel Good Times
Address: 8/7, W.E.A. Karol Bagh, Opp. Ramjas School Pusa Road, New Delhi
Location: IGI Airport : 15 KM, Domestic Airport : 12 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 3 KM

Hotel Metro Heights
Address: 8/35 WEA Padam Singh Road Karol Bagh, City Center, New Delhi
Location: IGI Airport : 15 KM, Domestic Airport : 12 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 3 KM

Sun Star Grand Hotel
Address: 7A/17, W.E.A., Channa Market, Karol Bagh,, Delhi

Hotel Broadway
Address: 4/15 A, Asaf Ali Road, Dariya Ganj,New Delhi 110002
Location: IGI Airport : 18 KM, Domestic Airport : 18 KM, New Delhi Railway Station : 1.5 KM

Modern communication system for disaster management

When the terrorists had planted and exploded bombs in the commercial hub of Connaught Place on September 13, 2008, the civil administration officials who had rushed there were unable to converse with or even locate each other as their mobile phones were not functioning since the system had got jammed.

To avoid such a situation, the Delhi Government is now purchasing a Rs.100-crore Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) communication from HCL Infosystems and Motorola that would help establish the country’s first exclusive Government Radio Network (GRN) and also enable the civil administration to be better prepared for disaster management before the Commonwealth Games.

Since the Tetra network seeks to facilitate swift and secure communication among various government agencies like the Delhi Police, Fire Services, Hospitals, Public Works Department and the Delhi Transport Corporation, sources said the system would be of great help in any disaster management exercise should the need arise.

By providing an efficient and secure communication, the system would ensure that there are no breakages in communication, said a senior officer. With this, the civil officials would also get a dedicated system like their counterparts in the police.

This technological up-gradation assumes significance since the Delhi Government is also engaged in the preparation of a disaster management plan for the Commonwealth Games.

As part of the plan, various contingencies have been thought of and the response thereto has been decided.

In the New Delhi district, which houses 25 of the 176 vulnerable areas of Delhi – as made out in the color coded list of Delhi police – the administration has made a detailed disaster management plan. The district also has hotels in which a number of Games delegates and officials would be staying.

It is also home to six venues for the Games namely Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium (hockey), SPM Aquatic Centre (swimming and diving), Talkatora Stadium (boxing), and lawns of India Gate (archery), Pragati Maidan (logistics venue) and Shivaji Stadium (training venue).

Besides, natural calamities and disasters such as earthquakes, the disaster management plan is also drawn around contingencies such as violence and terrorism; fires; chemical, biological or atomic attacks; transport hazards such as metro railway breakdown; and service disruptions such as power failures.

To tackle any of these contingencies, the disaster management plan of the New Delhi district has pointed out, the deployment of various equipment such as fire hydrants and extinguishers that would be made. It has also listed the nearest fire stations and their numbers, how the volunteers and Delhi police would carry out crowd control and how along with Delhi Fire Service they would also carry out the evacuation.

As per the plan, the traffic management would be left to the traffic police that would also make use of the FM radio to make announcements to the public at large on avoiding disaster-hit areas.

The transport of victims would be the responsibility of the Transport Department and for this nodal officers and alternate nodal officers have been identified for every venue. In the police stations too, nodal officers have been identified for every given Games venue.

Then a health plan has been drawn up and it includes the number of personnel to be deployed at every venue as also the names of the nearest hospital or dispensary where the victims would be taken in the event of any disaster. The ambulance services and blood banks have also been made part of the plan.

The plan even goes into minute details like who in the civic agencies would be responsible for debris clearance at a given venue and who would be responsible for restoration of water supply.
Importantly, it also identifies the schools in the vicinity that would serve as “shelter homes” in the event of a disaster.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

From May onwards Buy tickets for Games online

The sale of tickets for Commonwealth Games 2010 will open in May and will be accessible on the internet. So you don’t need to suffer the tedium of standing in queues. Not just that, a comprehensive website will let you study availability, rates, events and venues at leisure before making a choice.

The website is expected to be up on an experimental basis by April and sources said it may be fully functional by the end of the month itself. The Commonwealth Games organizing committee (OC) has begun accepting requests of foreign associations looking to block tickets but is confident that with 1.7 million tickets to go around, there is more than enough for everyone.

Would you spend more on an athletics event or concentrate on football and rowing? The OC ticketing web link can help you map out your Games experience along with the logistics or venues and travel.

Tickets purchased over the Net will have to be exchanged for those issued by the OC through designated counters. The committee plans to open several outlets so that all that needs to be done will be to visit a counter and exchange the e-receipts for actual tickets. The data system would have registered the issued tickets and the system is expected to have in built checks to prevent fraud.

The pricing of tickets is expected to be ‘‘affordable’’ with the costliest at Rs 1,000 and the cheaper ones in the Rs 100-200 range. ‘‘We have to keep in mind the paying capacity of the public as also the need to encourage spectators. Hopefully, the world class events will bring in the crowds and also inculcate a taste for sports,’’ said sources.

The ticket message that the OC wants to convey is book early so that you don’t have to face last-minute rush. The committee wants to tap a maximum number of people and so tickets are being offered even before some of the venues will be in state of readiness. ‘‘We will start the ticket sales programme so that agents and outlets are finalized. The venues are operating on a different schedule and are expected to be ready on time for the Games,’’ said an official.

The OC is doing its best to ensure that tickets are not available through unauthorized sources, all the more so as sales are expected to be an important source of revenue. The good news is that not all events will be ticketed. Some, like cycling and marathon, will be free entries and are scheduled to be held at India Gate-Central Vista and the Greater Noida Expressway.

2010 Commonwealth Games broadcasting to be done by Sky Television

SKY Television confirmed today that agreement has been reached with TVNZ to purchase the broadcast rights for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth Games coverage will be available on SKY's sport channels, free-to-air channel PRIME, the Internet and Mobile TV.

During the 12 days of the competition free-to-air channel PRIME will broadcast 12 hours each day of LIVE Games coverage together with a daily highlights package.

SKY will also dedicate five 24 hour channels to the Commonwealth Games - more than 1400 hours of television coverage. In addition to this, there will also be a two hour daily highlights package over the course of the games on SKY Sport, regular 30 minute updates on SKY's Sport Highlights channel and extensive Internet and Mobile TV coverage.

John Fellet, Chief Executive, SKY Television said, "The combination of free-to-air and pay television coverage for a key sports event like the Commonwealth Games is a winner for all New Zealanders and will provide them with more extensive and comprehensive coverage than they have ever seen before."

Live Commonwealth Games coverage begins at 4.30 pm on 3 October 2010.

Serving beef at Commonwealth Games! No Way

Any proposal by organizing committee of Commonwealth Games to serve only imported beef that too for only foreign delegates in the name of international commitment must not be allowed. Insisting on beef should be taken as disgrace to Indian people.

Congress municipal Councilors in Delhi deserve all compliments to whole-heartedly support stiff resistance by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Municipal Corporation of Delhi against serving beef to foreign delegates participating in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi. Any proposal by organizing committee of Commonwealth Games to even serve only imported beef that too for only foreign delegates in the name of international commitment must not be allowed. International commitments must not hurt strong religious sentiments of majority people of this country which worship cow as milking mother.

Apart from beef, there are numerous dishes to which there is no objection to be served. Beef is not such an item without which any human being can’t survive for their limited period stay in India during Commonwealth Games 2010. Insisting on beef by international authorities should be taken as disgrace and insult to people of India.

Olympic not in mind Commonwealth Games only priority

Bringing Olympic Games to India is Suresh Kalmadi's long-cherished dream but the IOA chief said his priority right now is to ensure that this year's Commonwealth Games proves a success.

"I don't want to talk about this issue now. Let us first make the CWG a huge success, then only we can think about bidding for Olympics," Kalmadi told PTI.

The Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee said he would love to see Olympics in India and was of the view that the Commonwealth Games would put the capital five years ahead in terms of infrastructure and sports facilities.

"As far as infrastructure and development is concerned, Delhi will move ahead by five years because of Commonwealth Games. It includes metro, airport terminal, roads and games venues. It will be a lasting legacy.

National Cadet Corps Cadets to serve in 2010 Commonwealth Games

At least 5,000 NCC cadets will be trained as volunteers to participate in various tasks in the two-week long Commonwealth Games in October this year.

"5,000 cadets will be acting as volunteers during the games and they will start training for the event from February," NCC Director General Lt Gen R K Karwal told reporters at the annual Republic Day Camp here.

Describing the role of NCC cadets during the Games, he said they would run alongside the 'Queen's baton' wherever it goes in the country and are likely used for tasks such as holding placards, medals tray and helping the participants and tourists to reach event venues during the mega event.

Speaking on other issues including the shortage of officers and men faced by the NCC for training cadets, Karwal said, "Defense Ministry has approved the recommendations of a Study Group, which had suggested recruiting ex-servicemen in NCC for doing away with shortage of officers and jawans faced by us."

The Study Group was formed by the Defense Ministry to find ways of fulfilling the shortage of officers and men in NCC for training cadets and creating infrastructure for the planned increase of two lakh cadets in the force.

CISF Acquired 18 Labradors for Sniffer Squad

To meet the pressing need for sniffer dogs at the Delhi Metro stations and airports across the country, the CISF has acquired 18 Labradors and Cocker Spaniels. The dogs will be trained in bomb detection by para-military officers at the new CISF canine breeding and training centre in Ghaziabad.

Kalmadi assures best ever CW Games in Delhi

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit is nervous about the hosting of Commonwealth Games in the capital but the event’s Organizing Committee (OC) head Suresh Kalmadi assures that all is well with the preparations despite umpteen delays.

Kalmadi said Delhi will host the Games more successfully than Manchester (2002) and Melbourne (2006).

‘‘There is no need to push the panic button. We are going to have the best ever Commonwealth Games. I would like to assure the entire country that all the pending work would be completed within the set deadlines. The Delhi Commonwealth Games would be better than Melbourne and Manchester,’’ said Kalmadi, who is also the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit had recently created a flutter by saying that she was nervous about the preparation and was praying to god for a successful Commonwealth Games. Kalmadi, however, brushed aside the concerns.

Monday, January 4, 2010

For 2010 CWG Project in Old Delhi MCD seeks more funds

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is planning to seek more funds from the government for redevelopment of the Walled City in view of the Commonwealth Games 2010. Municipal councilors have alleged that scarcity of funds has led to the neglect of heritage projects in Shahjahanabad and the Walled City area.

Leader of MCD House Subhash Arya said: ‘‘While over Rs 500 crore has been given to NDMC for development of CP and other areas under them, we have not got any funds for redevelopment of Old Delhi which will be one of the main tourist attractions during the Games. We are going to demand more funds from the government for development of the Walled City.’’ The MCD has been allocated Rs 1,500 crore for the Games till date.

Meanwhile, a number of councilors, on Monday, expressed the need for creating a special task force for completing Commonwealth Games (CWG) related projects as many of them are falling behind schedule.

Councilors said sanitation condition in the city was worsening and special attention needed to be given to improve it before the Games. MCD is responsible for sanitation and collection of garbage around some of the Games venues for which they have not yet come up with comprehensive plan.

MCD commissioner K S Mehra said most projects under MCD would be completed by June 2010. ‘Plan for redevelopment of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg and Maharaja Agrasen Marg in Old Delhi areas are awaiting approval,” he said.

English and Etiquette training for porters started, will see them at railway stations soon

Do not get surprised the next time you are approached by an English-speaking porter at the railway stations as Railways have launched a unique programme to hone their English speaking capabilities ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Taking a cue from China which launched soft skill programmes for taxi cabs ahead of the Beijing Olympics, Railways rolled out the initiative covering 50 licensed porters from three major railway stations New Delhi, Delhi and Nizamuddin.

“They would also serve as a one stop-point both for foreign tourists and domestic travelers providing information about tourist interests, taxi fares and Games stadia among others,” DRM Delhi division Ashwini Lohani said. “Coolies are the first point of interaction for outsiders. We want every visitor gets back with a good friendly image of the city,” Lohani said.

Delhi Metro Yamuna Bank-Anand Vihar line to open on 7 Jan

The Yamuna Bank-Anand Vihar Metro line was inspected by the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) on Monday. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials said the mandatory CMRS clearance is expected to come in a day. The line will be flagged-off by Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy on January 6 and will be opened for public a day later.
‘‘The CMRS, R K Kardam, inspected the Yamuna Bank Anand Vihar line of the Delhi Metro. The line will be ceremonially flagged off on January 6, subject to receiving the safety certification on Tuesday. The 6.25 km-long line is set to open to the public from 6am on January 7, 2010,’’ said a DMRC spokesperson. This will be the fourth line of the Metro network.

The opening of the line reportedly got delayed by a few weeks as the CMRS inspection couldn’t be scheduled due to the holiday season. DMRC started trial runs on the new line earlier this month and were expecting to open it around Christmas. On speculation that the opening of the new line was being delayed due to shortage of trains, DMRC officials said four new trains are needed to open the new stretch, which have already come.

‘‘Trains are not a problem. We have a new train coming every 10 days. But this is a very small stretch of about 6km, so this is not a concern,’’ said a spokesperson.

The 6.17km-long line which runs fully elevated along the busy Vikas Marg, is expected to ferry over 1 lakh commuters everyday by 2012. The line is an extension of the operational Line 3 (Dwarka line), which branches out from Yamuna Bank station and crosses five stations to reach the one at Anand Vihar border, before the metro continues its journey into Ghaziabad.

The Anand Vihar line is expected to be a lifeline for residents of the area as it passes through heavily built-up Vikas Marg, with residential colonies and institutional areas. The main artery sees a traffic load of over 1.5 lakh vehicles daily and about 3.7 km of the Metro line passes through these areas.

The next line to open after this will be the Mundka line, which is the first Delhi Metro line on standard gauge. Trial runs on 11-km of the line from Mundka to Shivaji Park have already been completed and just a 3.2 km stretch is left now. ‘‘We have got 13 new trains for standard gauge and are comfortably placed. We are looking at opening it by March,’’ said Kumar Keshav, Director (projects), DMRC.

Operations at IGI return to normal

With fog having given Delhi a miss on Sunday night and Monday, operations at the IGI Airport finally returned to normal. Officials said only shallow fog set in during Sunday night which did not cause any problems in flight schedules.

The runway visual range system failure that had caused massive disruption over two days of dense fog was finally rectified. While runway 29/11 was declared fit for CAT-III operations on Sunday itself, a new RVR system that had been flown in from Pune for the main runway 28/10, had been installed though officials said it would be declared fit for use only after trials on Monday. Till the system was in place, the Met was providing manual readings of the runway visual range.

‘‘Some important cables that relay the RVR reading to the end user had been damaged during some work recently. The airport is completely prepared now. If CAT-III dense fog sets in again, we are more than equipped to deal with it,’’ said sources.

Luxury tax exempted for Hotels hosting CWG delegates

The Delhi government Monday granted exemption from payment of luxury tax to hotels providing accommodation to delegates and technical experts during the Commonwealth Games this year.

After a cabinet meeting here, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said it is estimated that the amount of exemption in luxury tax will be around Rs.300 million.

The exemption will be provided for a month (from Sep 16 to Oct 16) on hotel accommodation booked by the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee for delegates from the Commonwealth Games Federation, member countries of the Commonwealth Games Associations, technical experts of International Sports Federations and broadcasting/media right holders for the games.

"The taxes mean all taxes - duties and imposts of the host country, the host state and host city. The organizing committee will have to provide a detailed list of delegates/technical experts," she said.

Dikshit said the decision has been taken as per the "Host City Contract" which says that the host city will use all reasonable endeavors to minimize the imposition of taxes on the import of supply and equipment required by the Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Associations, and accredited representatives.

Central Bank of India Official Banking Partner for 2010 CWG

Central Bank of India, one of the country's leading nationalized banks, has become the 'Official Banking Partner' for the Organizing Committee Commonwealth Games 2010.

They have now joined Air India, NTPC and Hero Honda in the Delhi 2010 Games family as its partner. Organizing Committee CWG Chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Central Bank of India Chairman and Managing Director S Sridhar today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect at the CWG headquarters here.

"The year of the Games has dawned and I am pleased to welcome India's first 'Swadeshi Bank' as our official partner in India," Kalmadi said after the signing ceremony.

"The bank's network in India would be used for sale of tickets and merchandise in the run up to and during the Games that start on October 3. All its 3,500 branches would be authorized to sell (tickets and merchandise).

"The bank can use intellectual property of the Organizing committee and all bank accounts should be opened with the Central Bank. The bank will have one of its branches in CWG headquarters," Kalmadi said.

Sridhar said that in last few months the bank has achieved several firsts and "this is for the first time that we have become official partner of any games and that too of Commonwealth Games, it's a big thing."

"We will continue to maintain our wonderful track record of delivering high quality service," Sridhar added.

Delhi Fire Service to provide in-built fire safety for CWG Venues

The Delhi fire service is focusing on in-built arrangements as fire safety measures during the nearly 12-day-long Commonwealth Games later this year.

Plans have been approved by the department and recommendations given to authorities involved in construction of buildings and stadia, director of Delhi Fire Services R C Sharma said.

“The buildings stadia and residential accommodation which are coming up for the Commonwealth Games has to be provided with inbuilt fire safety arrangements. Plans have been approved by the Delhi Fire Service and recommendations have been given to DDA, PWD, MCD and all the authorities concerned,” said Sharma. The fire department, which has also come out with its disaster management plan for the Games, says these arrangements will be done by the authorities themselves but “checked and inspected” by the Fire Service.

“However, we have not issued any deadline for that,” Sharma said. The in-built arrangements include availability of hydrant, internal fire fighting system, wet-riser, fire extinguisher, exit signs besides standby generators.

Is meeting deadline responsible for ILS glitch

The glitch in the runway visual range (RVR) component of the instrument landing system (ILS) which guides flight path during landing in dense fog may have developed due to a last-minute mad rush to meet Commonwealth Games deadline.

Preliminary probe into the major safety lapse has shockingly revealed that the Met department had on December 23 or 24 written to the airport management to rectify the cable problem that had rendered the ILS unusable. However, no heed was paid to this as the airport management was too busy chasing the completion deadline for the upcoming integrated terminal III (T3).

‘‘Work on T3 suffered earlier due to paucity of funds which was later raised by levying steep user development fees on outbound passengers. Now there is a rush to meet the deadline but in an operational airport, safety issues should get priority over everything else,’’ said a senior official probing the fiasco.

While work is now on at a frantic pace to rectify the problem in both the new and main runways, the erring service provider could face harsh punishment under newly revised Aircraft rules.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issues licenses to agencies like Met department, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL and AAI for providing essential aviation services.

About two months ago, four levels of punishments were introduced that included Rs 10 lakh fine and/or up to two years imprisonment, Rs 5 lakh fine and/or a year’s jail, Rs 2 lakh and/or six month’s jail and Rs 1 lakh and/or three month’s incarceration.

DGCA is likely to take a call on which service providers are guilty of deficiency of service and what level of punishment they should get. Although it’s the first lapse on part of the service provider and should invite a lower level of punishment, the severity of the lapse will also play a role in deciding the penalty.

DGCA has decided to subject all airport operators, private or AAI run and ATC services to intense scrutiny to ensure 100% compliance with all regulations. Top government sources said that a notice is likely to be issued to DIAL to explain the lapse in restoring the cable that enables aircraft movement during fog. What has irked the regulator especially is the fact that some key people supposed to be responsible for running the place were on vacation when all hell broke loose there on Saturday and it was left to South African Andrew Harrison, chief operating officer, to oversee the salvage operation on DIAL’s part.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fate Happy on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg; proposed to get a facelift

Work for re-development of historic Ferozeshah Kotla and Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in the Capital to de-congest parking in the area and improve landscaping is all set to take off now in the New Year with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi approving the award of work to the contractor.

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which had signed a memorandum of understanding with the MCD for the project, has assured the civic agency that work would be completed before June this year well in time for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Apart from re-development of Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Ferozeshah Kotla, the project also includes refurbishing of the road between Delhi Gate and Darya Ganj. The civic body also plans to develop a heritage corridor starting from Coronation Park in North Delhi to Qutub Minar in South Delhi that would include prominent heritage sites such as Ferozeshah Kotla, Khooni Darwaza and Delhi Gate. The famous Shankar’s International Dolls Museum and Shaheed Park are other important locations which fall on the stretch and would be re-developed.

The MCD had initially planned to build up a multi-level underground parking lot at Shaheed Park. However, because of huge parking requirements in the area the parking site has been shifted to the Parade Ground in Chandni Chowk. This lot would provide parking space for 663 cars and would be built at a cost of Rs.52 crore.

The civic body will also carry out extensive landscaping of the area. Shaheed Park will be developed to provide a clear view of the ancient Ferozeshah Kotla fort.

It will also improve and standardise the signs on Delhi’s roads before the 2010 Commonwealth Games as well as improve the roadside landscaping.

A plan is also being worked out to de-congest the area around the Dolls Museum under the project. “We want to make the Dolls Museum more accessible. A parking lot at Manak Bhavan across the road will reduce the vehicle load in the Press Area. It will also make the Dolls Museum more popular,” said a civic body official.

“Since the proposal for refurbishing of the road between Delhi Gate and Darya Ganj involved changes in the traffic pattern, the area in front of Ferozeshah Kotla is proposed to be taken up in the first phase as it will involve minimum disturbance,” he added.

Fate Happy on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg; proposed to get a facelift

Work for re-development of historic Ferozeshah Kotla and Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in the Capital to de-congest parking in the area and improve landscaping is all set to take off now in the New Year with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi approving the award of work to the contractor.

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which had signed a memorandum of understanding with the MCD for the project, has assured the civic agency that work would be completed before June this year well in time for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Apart from re-development of Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Ferozeshah Kotla, the project also includes refurbishing of the road between Delhi Gate and Darya Ganj. The civic body also plans to develop a heritage corridor starting from Coronation Park in North Delhi to Qutub Minar in South Delhi that would include prominent heritage sites such as Ferozeshah Kotla, Khooni Darwaza and Delhi Gate. The famous Shankar’s International Dolls Museum and Shaheed Park are other important locations which fall on the stretch and would be re-developed.

The MCD had initially planned to build up a multi-level underground parking lot at Shaheed Park. However, because of huge parking requirements in the area the parking site has been shifted to the Parade Ground in Chandni Chowk. This lot would provide parking space for 663 cars and would be built at a cost of Rs.52 crore.

The civic body will also carry out extensive landscaping of the area. Shaheed Park will be developed to provide a clear view of the ancient Ferozeshah Kotla fort.

It will also improve and standardise the signs on Delhi’s roads before the 2010 Commonwealth Games as well as improve the roadside landscaping.

A plan is also being worked out to de-congest the area around the Dolls Museum under the project. “We want to make the Dolls Museum more accessible. A parking lot at Manak Bhavan across the road will reduce the vehicle load in the Press Area. It will also make the Dolls Museum more popular,” said a civic body official.

“Since the proposal for refurbishing of the road between Delhi Gate and Darya Ganj involved changes in the traffic pattern, the area in front of Ferozeshah Kotla is proposed to be taken up in the first phase as it will involve minimum disturbance,” he added.

Delhiites are really barbaric; they need to learn some civic lessons

In yet another effort to instill civic sense among Delhi residents, civic authorities Friday announced launch of a new campaign asking people not to spit, pee on or litter the roads "at least for the sake of the Commonwealth Games".

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has created a number of interesting characters like "Mr. Su Su (pee) Kumar" and "Mr. Kuda (garbage) Kumar" to dissuade people from urinating on the roadside and throwing garbage here and there.

"Mr. Thu Thu (spitting) Kumar" embodies those who are accustomed to spitting on roads and in public places without bothering how it offends the sensibilities of other citizens.

"Mr. Poly Uncle and Mrs. Poly Aunty" represent those citizens who use polythene bags without any scruples. The final message says: "We hope; now onwards Delhi will have less number of Su Su Kumars, Thu Thu Kumars, Kuda Kumars, Poly Uncles and Aunties and more of enlightened citizens."

MCD spokesman Deep Mathur said they will shortly launch this multi-media advertisement campaign entitled "Let's get ready" to create civic awareness with regard to sanitation and good civic habits ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held here Oct 3-14.

The advertisement says: "Hosting an international event like Commonwealth Games is a matter of pride for our country" and asks citizens: "Together, let’s get ready to welcome sports persons, delegates and sports lovers from various countries in a clean and green Delhi".

The advertisement campaign carries the message of Mahatma Gandhi: "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". The message points out: "Dilli Ke Beauty Hum Sab Ki Duty".

Advanced Traffic Monitoring System in Delhi before Games

For Delhi’s traffic management, the police is going hi-tech route. With the Commonwealth Games in October, Delhi Police is initiating a slew of modernization projects in 2010, with special emphasis on using state-of-the-art gadgets to enhance security and improve traffic management.

According to the plan, the police will install intelligent traffic system (ITS) on the routes that would be in use during the Commonwealth Games for effective monitoring of traffic. In the first phase, 87 roads covering about 210km of road length and 220 intersections will be covered. There are also plans to start e-challaning scheme.

The traffic police is also in the process of acquiring modern enforcement equipment
like hand-held radar runs with night vision facility, lux meters and driving simulators.

Before the Games, 58 important markets and 27 border checkpoints across the city will be secured with CCTV cameras. An integrated communication network (cyber highway) is being established for use in convergent services and a central command operations control room called C4i is being set up at the police headquarters for use during the Commonwealth Games and beyond. The C4i will be linked to all the staff on the ground and subsidiary bases on wireless sets, tetranet, mobile phones and landlines.

An automated fingerprint and palm identification system, the first for the country, will be installed at 135 police stations in the city to provide inkless scanning, paper data capturing, transmission and query of rolled finger and palm prints.


The process of issuing biometric identification cards for security reasons to all taxi drivers operating at IGI Airport kicked off on Saturday. Delhi Police commissioner YS Dadwal said the scheme will be extended to all taxi and auto drivers in the city before the Games. The IDs will ensure security of passengers hailing cabs and autos in the city that is expecting a huge influx of foreign and domestic tourists during the Commonwealth Games in October.

There are a total 2,557 taxi drivers at the airport, of which Delhi Police has verified antecedents of 2,260 drivers. ‘‘We are starting trial runs of the biometric IDs for taxi drivers at the airport and are in the process of extending this to all the 28,000 taxis and 55,000 autos in the city before the Games,’’ Dadwal said. The PSV badge-cum-biometric cards will be issued to drivers by the transport department after verification is carried out by the police.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Public Amenities to get facelift for Games

Public amenities at 10 heritage monuments in the capital will get a facelift ahead of the Commonwealth Games, as authorities spruce up the sites and prepare them for an influx of foreign tourists.

While new public toilets will be constructed at four complexes that are expected to be the biggest tourist hot spots, existing facilities at six others will be upgraded, a top ASI official said.

The new facilities will be maintained by the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). The sites where new toilets will be constructed, in addition to repair of the existing ones, are the Qutub complex, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Ford and Purana Qila.

‘‘The places likely to see maximum tourists are our focus. Besides the four monuments, public toilets at six other places will be upgraded,’’ Delhi chief superintendent archaeologist K K Muhammad said.

600 members Australian team to visit India for 2010 CWG

In what would come as music to the ears of an embattled Organizing Committee, Australia is planning to send its largest-ever delegation of over 600 athletes and officials, including Olympic and world champions, for next year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"Australia is planning to send a full team of over 600 athletes, coaches, managers, medicos and officials. The team will be the largest ever to compete in an overseas Commonwealth Games campaign with the first round of team nominations including the provisional selection of eight track and field athletes, including world champions Steve Hooker and Dani Samuels," Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) said in a statement.

Pole vaulter Hooker is a gold medalist from the Beijing Olympics where he set an Olympic record of 6.06m. Samuels is the youngest ever female discus thrower to become a world champion.

ACGA CEO Perry Crosswhite said not a single athlete has raised any security concerns about traveling to India.

"To date the questions have been about the weather predictions and the sports venues, and, of course, what the food and the village are going to be like," he said.

Crosswhite also welcomed England's rebuttal of the media reports saying that English athletes would not be taking part in the event fearing terror strikes during the Games.

"I am very pleased to hear that England has confirmed that it will send a full team Delhi," Crosswhite said.

"Australia is looking forward to renewing the traditional England-Australia rivalry at the Indian hosted Commonwealth Games and I expect that the competition as to which nation will win the most medals will be closer than ever," he added.

Crosswhite said media reports which cast doubts on the Games' success without even quoting their sources should not be given much importance.

"It is indeed unfortunate that such prominence has been given to a media report, particularly as the source was unnamed.

"Having returned from Delhi several weeks ago where I received a substantial briefing on security measures both planned and in place for the Games, I believe that those responsible for Games security in Delhi are doing everything they can to ensure a successful Game," Crosswhite said.

To be held from October 3 to 14, the 2010 Commonwealth Games will have 19 sports on the program, making it the largest Games to date.

Thyagaraj Stadium to miss deadline for sure

After Central Public Works Department (CPWD), it is the turn of PWD to give assurances about finishing projects even as internal deadlines are getting extended.

The PWD’s flagship stadium, Thyagaraj, which was supposed to be ready by December, will now be ready only in February. The delay, said sources, was due to the late start in laying of the specialized wooden flooring at the stadium. The stadium’s eco-green features like the green power plant as well as the solar panels on its surface are the other reasons why the stadium is getting delayed, the sources said.

The delay comes even as PWD minister Rajkumar Chauhan visited the three Delhi government sporting facilities Thyagaraj, Chhatrasal and Ludlow Castle for inspection on Thursday. While Chauhan claimed that work was progressing on time, sources in the department said apart from Ludlow Castle, which was expected to be completed in January, the others would only be ready in February. Incidentally, both Ludlow and Chhatrasal are non-competition venues and will be used for training purposes only. Chuahan however, reiterated that all venues were on schedule, adding that Ludlow Castle would be ready within ‘‘two to three’’ weeks.

A senior government official said, ‘‘the major infrastructural work is over. Now, only the finishing touches are left, which is taking time. The present delay (at the Thyagaraj) happened because a lot of time was spent on awarding the work to the designated company for the maple wood flooring.’’

Thyagaraj, which will be hosting the Test event in March, is the competition venue for Netball. The stadium, which has been touted as the first green stadium in the country, will also be the first government building to use a gas-based turbine for its power needs. Apart from the green turbine it will be powered by PNG from IGL the stadium is also planning to use solar energy on a large scale. ‘‘The roof of the stadium is quite large: 107X185 meters. So around 1MW solar energy is generated every day. This energy will be used within the building,’’ the official said.