Come September and this host-city for the October Commonwealth Games will start covering some of its slums and garbage dumps with flags and banners bearing a special design featuring the beaming event mascot, Shera, the tiger.
According to a Delhi government official, the design was finalised by the Games organising committee and had been kept under wraps. “This is definitely a good initiative, and I’m sure it would look great,” says Rajat Sharma, 22, a resident of Vasant Kunj. “But more than the look, the condition matters. Look at the roads, one day of rains and the whole city comes to a standstill. Let's be done with the basics first and then proceed to beautifying the city.” .
The city government had earlier planned to cover up slums with bamboo screens along key routes for athletes. “But now the plan has been dropped as there is no need for that,” says chief secretary Rakesh Mehta. Public Works Department (PWD) minister, Raj Kumar Chauhan, has said that his department will be using the design at various places, including on an elevated road coming up between the Games village in east Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in south Delhi.
“We will use the design as it will portray a uniform look through the city during the Games,” Chauhan says. “Ideally, the slums should have been removed completely, but that is hardly possible in India. So, this seems like a good idea to add colour to the city and display our enthusiasm for CWG,” says Garima Juneja, 18, a student of KR Mangalam school of architecture and planning.
“It’s a good idea to cover these eyesores so that the foreigners that come for CWG don’t think of Delhi as a dirty place,” says Aditya Dhawan, 18, a student of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, College. All the agencies involved in preparations for the event, besides hotel and market associations, in and around Games venues have been asked to use the design on flags, banners and other beautification paraphernalia, the official said. Officials have also been instructed to cover up the eyesores with the banners, flags and other outdoor materials bearing the Games design.