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Drivers’ protest takes delegates for a spin

Problems for athletes, officials and technical delegates at the Commonwealth Games seem unending. After things at the Games Village were more or less sorted out, a new issue has cropped up.

other Updated: Oct 02, 2010 23:33 IST
Sharad Deep

Problems for athletes, officials and technical delegates at the Commonwealth Games seem unending. After things at the Games Village were more or less sorted out, a new issue has cropped up.

With drivers, who are mostly from outside Delhi and not very familiar with the roads, ferrying them from the Games Village and hotels to practice venues and back, confusion and delays are the order of the day.

Over 700 drives have refused to work in protest against lengthy working hours, poor facilities at the depot and stale food and this left the sports ministry fuming on Saturday.

Sources confirmed that the ministry has asked the sports secretary, Sindhushree Khullar to assume charge and take strict action, including imposing of ESMA (Essential Service Maintenance Act), against the protesting drivers, if required. Delegates have faced problems throughout the week but on Saturday alone there was a series of complaints from them, the officials and even athletes that reached the Organising Committee (OC) office.

A car taking technical directors from the Ashoka Hotel to the weightlifting venue at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex kept going round in circles and after 20 minutes, it returned to the hotel.

The technical director for swimming headed for the Yamuna Sports Complex from the SPM Aquatics Complex was lost after moving around for a couple of hours. Two other cars, meant to take classifiers from Hotel Ramada to the Village, headed nowhere in over an hour. “Conducting events on time won't be possible if the officials concerned can't reach their designated places,” said one of the para-sports officials. “Do we need to have a 2-hour buffer to reach a venue?”

Sources confirmed that most of the drivers are from Jodhpur and Jaisalmer and don't have any idea of the roads here. “Above 80 car drivers (T1, executive class) have quit,” a source said. HT's repeated calls to CWG director of transportation, Ashish Kumar, went unanswered.