Fresh from the Bus Rapid Transit corridor fiasco, the Delhi government has come up with another uniquely bizarre plan. With barely two years to go for the Commonwealth Games, the government has woken up to the fact there is not enough accommodation for visitors and volunteers. But hang on, it has a solution: tents on vacant plots. Yes, the hapless visitor will find himself in a makeshift structure in faraway Faridabad or Gurgaon where ostensibly he will get the full blast of Incredible India.
But what about basic amenities? No problem. Tented colonies will have everything you could want. The visitor will get up, close and personal with India, when stepping out of his tent, he will battle mosquitos and flies, feast his eyes on heaps of garbage and people relieving themselves, and very possibly get mugged and robbed. The government’s logic? Such a scheme exists in Rajasthan. What it forgets is that the Rajasthan rent-a-tent experience is run by five-star hotels and tourists pay through their nose for it.
Oh, lest we forget, the government assures us that tents can be moved to other destinations. So if things go out of whack in Faridabad, the tourist can move home and hearth to, say Yamuna Pushta. Now all we need is a fact-finding mission on how the tent experiment has worked in other (cooler) climes. And if the tent scheme doesn’t work? Well, why worry? The government will quietly fold up its tent and retreat.