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2010, a Delhi love story

Come 2010 and the Commonwealth Games and Delhi will be a world-class city, the government reminds us everyday, writes KumKum Dasgupta.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2008 22:43 IST
KumKum Dasgupta

Two more years to go, just two more, I keep muttering to myself everyday like a manic while I negotiate peak-hour traffic. Ah, there will be bridge at this four-way crossing soon and the drive will be smooth, I tell myself as the traffic light refuses to turn green.

Come 2010 and the Commonwealth Games and Delhi will be a world-class city, the government reminds us everyday. Promises are flying thick and fast. Here are a few of them: adequate number of ‘modern and comfortable’ buses (low-floor is the flavour of the season), solar lights for 1,600 bus shelters and a slew of flyovers.

Even the stormwater drains, which had not been cleaned for years, will now be remodelled. No more monsoon wading. The horticulture department is also at it: some 41,000 species of plants, which are likely to flower during the Games, have already been planted. Another five lakh are in the pipeline.

But the mother of all promises is this: ‘A Clean Yamuna by 2010!’ After years of spending crores of taxpayers’ money on the ‘Clean Yamuna’ campaigns and shamelessly failing to do anything substantial, the government says that by 2010 it will be done. Pray, what magic wand does it have? Shouldn’t the Yamuna be cleaned anyway, Games or not? Same for the stormwater drains. These are routine work for the municipal departments. Doesn’t the monsoon come every year? So why this long wait till 2010?

Since everything will be ‘world-class’ by 2010, why not think about a few medals too? Don’t worry at all, there’s a plan for that also.

Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi has made a ‘proposal’ to train Indian athletes in China to get the benefit of ‘great’ infrastructure and coaches. And, mind you the ‘proposal’ was only thought of in February. But the details of the training programme — the number of athletes and disciplines — would be decided only after the Chinese accept the proposal. Mr Kalmadi, pardon me, but do we have enough time for such ambitious programmes?

But never mind, I tell myself, Great Leaders know what they are doing. After all, what's a leader if he is not a dealer in hope?