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2010 games: DDA sees flats as hotel rooms

The DDA has finally admitted that of the 6,000 hotel rooms that were to come up in the city to accommodate the one lakh tourists expected for the Commonwealth Games, only about 2,000 are guaranteed to be ready, reports Moushumi Das Gupta.

delhi Updated: Feb 16, 2009 01:56 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has finally admitted that of the 6,000 hotel rooms that were to come up in the city to accommodate the one lakh tourists expected for the Commonwealth Games, only about 2,000 are guaranteed to be ready. The agency had auctioned 33 hotel sites for the purpose over the past two years.

Another approximately 2,000 rooms have a fifty-fifty chance of being ready while the possibility of the remaining rooms getting completed by 2010 is bleak.

The DDA made these disclosures before the Union tourism ministry at a meeting last month.

With the hotel project foundering, the DDA has now approached the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) to help it in converting its upcoming flats at Vasant Kunj and Jasola to studio/service apartments and suites to make up for the shortfall.

Delhi has 10,000 rooms in budget and star category and will require about 30,000 rooms for the Commonwealth Games.

There are 3,179 flats in the high-income group (HIG), middle-income group (MIG) and low-income group (LIG) in these two localities, which according to the DDA will help add about 5,000 rooms. While the flats are being constructed by the DDA, the ITDC will furnish the apartments to international standards. The apartments will have three-star facilities and will be targeted at budget tourists.

DDA officials said about 90 per cent flats were ready at Jasola and about 60 per cent at Vasant Kunj. “While we’ll prepare the flats, the ITDC will put up the furniture and do the interiors,” said an official who did not want to be named.

Rajiv Makin, director (commercial & marketing), ITDC, said, “Once the apartments are ready, we’ll do the booking ourselves. We haven’t worked out the cost of the different apartments as of now.”

Makin said the flats would be ready by March 2010. “We’ll do a soft launch in April to test the facility,” he said.

Both the housing complexes will have a community hall, which will be converted to a food court. After the Commonwealth Games, the ITDC will remove the furnishings and hand the flats over to the DDA, which will then sell them in the market.

With a high reserve price and unviable locations, the hotel project had failed to get bidders initially. Many plots were put on auction half-a-dozen times before they found buyers.

Over the past one year, work on most sites was hit because of the economic slowdown. In December, a group of developers who had bought two hotel plots from the DDA defaulted on payment and asked the urban development ministry to bail them out by extending the payment deadline.