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Bridge collapse spurs 'disaster tourism'

The Commonwealth Games have given Delhi another dubious feather in the cap -- 'disaster tourism'.

delhi Updated: Sep 26, 2010 00:31 IST
Sidhartha Roy

New Delhi: The Commonwealth Games have given Delhi another dubious feather in the cap -- "disaster tourism". The Sewa Nagar flyover in south Delhi is a busy thoroughfare for most part of the day. From Tuesday, however, the flyover that links Lodhi Road to Defence Colony is witnessing a different kind of traffic -- disaster tourists.

Built during the 1982 Asian Games, this flyover is bang opposite the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

On Tuesday, a pedestrian bridge meant to help people cross over from a parking lot to the stadium came crashing down. The flyover, which provides a panoramic view of the stadium and the site where the bridge collapsed, has been attracting a steady stream of onlookers ever since.

Ramesh Kumar, a government employee, works at ITO and lives at Kalkaji. On his way to office and back, he can catch a glimpse of the JLN Stadium from the Lala Lajpat Rai Marg, but not of the infamous pedestrian overbridge. "Today, I took a detour just to have a look at the fallen bridge," Kumar said, while getting down from his car that he had parked somewhere near the flyover’s middle section, a vantage point. "People have been talking so much about this bridge that I finally had to come today," he added.

As the evening progresses, the number of cars and two-wheelers parked on the flyover and the crowd of curious visitors swelled, creating a traffic bottleneck.

"I was just passing by. However, after seeing so many people standing here, I also stopped to have a look," said Pankaj Gupta, a businessman. Gupta, like many others gathered there, took a picture for those back home.

Bonding over the view, street gyan flew thick and fast between fellow onlookers. "The Games have become a mess and I feel ashamed as a Delhiite," said Aakash Sharma, a student. "I think the army should take over and organise the event."

But unlike the office-goers, Parul Jain, a homemaker, had come all the way from Gurgaon with her daughter to see the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

"It looks so nice and is an achievement for the country," Jain said, pointing towards the laser lighting at the stadium.