Twenty-one months to go, the Union Government seems to be finally taking note of the urgency to get Delhi – the host city for the 2010 Commonwealth Games – all ready and decked up for the prestigious sporting extravaganza.
On Monday, Union Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his interim budget increased Delhi’s allocation for developing various Commonwealth games infrastructure projects from Rs 400 crore to Rs 1,000 crore in 2009-10.
This is over and above the Rs 964 crore that has been allocated to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affair for developing sports infrastructure (stadia, games venue renovation) for the Games.
However, Delhi government officials said that the money allocated to it for developing infrastructure projects related to Commonwealth Games is half of what it had demanded. In its original wish-list to the Planning Commission in January, the city government had asked for Rs 2,000 crore. It had cited paucity of funds for delaying work in a lot of ongoing infrastructure projects.
It is not only the Games preparations that will get a boost from this increased allocation.
The overall development of the Capital is also likely to get a big fillip. For, Delhi’s overall allocation has also been increased by over three times — from Rs 811 crore to Rs 2,418 crore in 2009-10 interim budget.
Of this, while Rs 1,000 crore will go for developing Commonwealth Games related infrastructure, another Rs 1,045 crore has been allocated for projects like developing urban infrastructure and housing for economically weaker sections under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
Rakesh Mehta, Delhi chief secretary said, “Work on various games related infrastructure projects that the city government is undertaking was affected by the economic slowdown. The allocation will give fresh impetus. Work on all civic infrastructure projects like new roads, flyovers and bridges will be completed in time for the Games.”
The various Delhi government projects that are set to give a facelift to the Capital include flyovers, road over-bridges and new road corridors to facilitate the flow of traffic, particularly connecting and leading to the Games venues, a hospital and a polyclinic at the Games Village, improvement of railway station, beautification of the city including Central Vista and Janpath, construction of two bypasses, among others.