As media centres go, this one compares with the very best in the world. The Main Press Centre for the Commonwealth Games 2010 appears to have everything a journalist could ask for. “India’s not blushingly coy about societal ways the way it was during the 1982 Asian Games,” said a delegate.
The Press Information Bureau, that was in fact in charge of setting up the MPC, was asked at the last minute to take control of all media related activity after the unceremonious removal of Manish Kumar, a Kalmadi recruit who was heading media operations till Saturday.
Senior OC officials said Kumar had been sacked. He could not be contacted and is believed to have carried with him the keys of the locks to various smaller media centres in CWG venues. An OC official said, “We will have to break the locks and will ask PIB to fix the problems at those venues.”
On Saturday, it is learnt that Kumar was removed after several irregularities were spotted in the issuance of security passes to journalists. Several hundred journalists’ files hadn’t made it to the first stage of clearance.
All this work will now have to be not completed by PIB officials but Principal Director General Neelam Kapur is unfazed. “We have always handled media work and we will just have to get the work done,” she told Hindustan Times, during a quick inspection of the MPC on Tuesday.
At 6,700 square metres, the Main Press Centre looks like a mall. Bright lights, and beaming volunteers cheer up the atmosphere across a hall that is divided into sections that can cater to about 2,000 journalists.
Journalists who work out of the MPC will get Internet usage cards to slip into their own laptops, apart from the 600 plus computers installed there. There are recreation areas with free coffee, tea and snacks.
Interestingly, the MPC has a pub coming up next to it, a pharmacy well stocked with condoms, a convenience store, a mobile store and an ATM. That’s what prompted a British delegate touring the MPC who had visited India during the 1982 Asiad, that things were much better this time round.