Saturday, October 9, 2010

International Technical Officials Shifted to Hotels: Facing Commuting Problems

When the organizing committee (OC) decided to move its international technical officials (ITO) from Vasant Kunj to different hotels in the NCR, it wouldn’t have thought its decision would come to haunt it later. Complaints from delegates about long wait for transport, combined with a long commute, have now forced the OC to re look at its transportation plans.

Said an official, ‘‘Delegates have been complaining about the wait for transport to the venues and back to hotels, especially since most have schedules starting really early in the day.’’ Sources say the logistics behind getting all the delegates to the venue and back to various hotels in the city is the root cause of the problem. With ITOs staying in 12 different hotels in Delhi and NCR, including Gurgaon and Faridabad, sources say picking up the ITOs and dropping them back is a long process every day. Interestingly, the delegates from a particular sport are not necessarily staying together, making it impossible for the vehicle to be confined to a single hotel.

Compounding the problem is the acute lack of drivers that the OC has been facing. Of the 2,200 that were to be provided to the OC by Tata motors, many left the OC hanging, disappearing midway through the first week itself. Now, the OC has hired over 500 drivers from schools in the city, hoping the drivers familiarity with the city will help them get the delegates faster from point A to B. Admitted Jiji Thomson, special DG, OC and in charge of transport, ‘‘The situation has improved tremendously from what it was last week. It should get even better over the next few days.’’ On Friday, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) CEO, Mike Hooper, said no complaints had been received about transportation, hoping that the problem had been resolved.

Meanwhile, sources say that the lack of drivers has been a source of much aggravation for many delegates till date. The ITOs consisting of judges and other technical delegates were to be provided individual cars as part of the Games protocol. These were to be with them through the day, so that commuting between events and venues is easy. However, with few drivers around, many had to share the transport, leading them to wait for the cars as it ferried other delegates. Added the source, ‘‘Though monitoring of the cars is constant through GPS, there were instances when delegates had to wait for half to one hour for their transport.’’

On Friday though, the OC finally put 600 cars specifically for shared transport after new drivers were taken in, with another 300 being added to the T1 (individual) fleet.

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