A day before the 100-day countdown to the Commonwealth Games begins, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the Capital was ready to host even the Olympic Games.
<b1>She said this on Wednesday at an HT conclave to mark the Games countdown and to launch its initiative, ‘I Love Delhi: My Delhi My Games’. Sharing her confidence and the stage were Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief Suresh Kalmadi.
The CM admitted she was comfortable but nervous about the event. “We’re ready for it. We have good infrastructure and facilities. We can definitely organise the Olympics.”
But she said the success of the Games depended on the people of the city. “This is where HT’s ‘My Delhi My Games’
slogan will help. It is not just for the government but for the people to take care. The Metro is an example. Delhiites treat it as their own; don’t dirty it. We want them to feel the same way about the city,” she said.
Opening the conclave, HT Media Ltd’s Chairperson and Editorial Director Shobhana Bhartia said, “There is hardly anybody called a true-blue Delhiite. Delhi is becoming like the new Mumbai where people like me who grew up elsewhere make Delhi home. We all fit the description of the label Delhiite. The CWG has provided a unique opportunity to show off what we have.”
Urban development minister Jaipal Reddy too backed the Delhi CM's confidence to host the Olympic Games. He revealed that his ministry has given Delhi a Rs 18,000 crore facelift for the Games.
“The Indian government will be more interested in Delhi than in any other part of the country (to host the Olympics),” he told the packed house. “With the Commonwealth Games, Delhi will undergo a mighty metamorphosis.”
Amid the mood of upbeat confidence, Dikshit did point out a few problems. She asked the organising committee (OC) of the Games to do more to let people know where to get tickets from, saying that people are “itching to see the Games”.
She also said that though the Games were conceptualised at least six years ago, things were left to the last minute.
“But a lot of planning has gone into it and all stake-holders — municipalities, the IOA, Delhi Police — have done their bit,” she said.
IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi compared the CWG to an Indian wedding. “But we haven’t left anything to the last minute. Everything is planned to the last T,” he said. He also said that tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies were almost all sold out and joked that he wouldn’t be able to fulfil the requests of Delhi’s many VVIPs.
The conclave, which was also attended by star boxer Vijender Singh and film star Chitrangda Singh, ended on the celebratory note that it began. Kalmadi put the Games, Delhi and HT’s initiative in perspective: “Come as a friend, go back as family.”