With just 384 days remaining for the Games to begin, accommodation for the 100,000 tourists expected to visit is far from ready.
At present, there is a shortage of approximately 30,000 hotel rooms in the city. To bridge this, the government had planned to add 26,774 rooms before the Games. But according to Union Tourism Ministry figures, of the planned rooms, only 9,597 (35 per cent) are guaranteed to come up before the Games. And as on September 4, just 41 per cent (3,952) of these guaranteed rooms have been completed.
These figures came up at a review meeting held by the Union Tourism Secretary, Sujit Banerjee, during the 24th Task Force meeting with various land owning agencies of the National Capital Region, to review the progress of hotel projects and other accommodation coming up for the Games.
The Ministry, however, is yet to press the panic button. It also does not have an alternative plan in place.
“Planning and monitoring of the hotel projects has floundered. But more than that, it is linked to economic viability of the projects. The reserve price at which the plots were auctioned was way too high to make them viable. And now, it’s too late to complete 59 per cent of the remaining rooms in so little time,” said Sudeep Jain, executive vice-president, Jones LangLasalle Hotels, a leading hotel advisory group.
Authorities blame Delhi Development Authority’s “auctioning of plots in unviable locations, at unreasonably high prices” for the present mess.