The Commonwealth Games were an exercise in disparity. While one part of Delhi got all the goods, all that the rest of Delhi got was a cold shoulder. Reason: Only those parts of the Capital got facelifts that were expected to be visited by the Games athletes and officials.
So while most of the foreign delegates had smooth rides from point A to point B, the rest of Delhi, driving on potholed roads, had its bones rattled.
The problem was compounded by the Capital being hit by heaviest monsoon of the decade which left many roads badly damaged.
Ironically, the civic agencies, instead of repairing all the roads decided to concentrate only on those roads that led up to the Games village or the Games venues.
The MCD spent nearly R20 crore on dense carpeting of just 30 roads that led to the Games venues. In contrast, only R13 crore was spent on laying new roads for the rest of the city.
The PWD spent more than R250 crore repairing nearly 200 km of its 450-odd km road network. The remaining 250-km road network was ignored, including those that were in equally bad shape or worse.
"Initially, we had decided to repair the entire 450-odd km road network. Later we realised we had severe time and money constraint. Our contractors were also hard-pressed for time to finish repairing the roads that were on the Games map," said a senior PWD engineer. "Some not-so-important roads were thus taken off the list."
MCD officials admit that the construction and repair of roads came to a standstill due to the Games. "We will start the repair work soon. Due to the Games we couldn’t repair or carry out relaying of all the roads," said a senior MCD official.
The officials further claim that the main roads, which carry a lot of vehicular traffic, always get priority over colony roads. But due to poor maintenance, the roads in residential areas had developed huge potholes.
The MCD, which has a road network of 30,000 km, had admitted recently that the incessant rains damaged nearly 106 kilometre of roads. Though a deadline of September 30 was set to carry out the repair work, the civic body was unable to meet it.
The situation was made worse by the fact that 65 councilors of the civic agencies, given R50 lakh each for their wards’ development, looked the other way and did not spend even a single penny to get these roads repaired.
MCD Commissioner KS Mehra said, "For us the priority is the entire city, which, of course, included the Games. We did everything possible. But this year, due to incessant rains, some areas were in a really bad shape."