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1,000 days to go: It’s a race against time

With just 1000 days to go for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the tempo is finally building up in the Capital, reports Moushumi Das Gupta.

delhi Updated: Jan 07, 2008 02:58 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Moushumi Das Gupta
Hindustan Times

The countdown for the 2010 Commonwealth Games has begun. With just 1000 days to go, the tempo for the Games is finally building up in the Capital.

After the Asiad, the 2010 Games will be the biggest sporting extravaganza that the Capital will host. In the last few years almost all the major development work that has been planned for the city — be it flyovers, railway stations, metro line — has been done with an eye on the Games. If Asiad changed the face of south and central parts of the city, the 2010 Commonwealth Games will do the same for east Delhi.

But despite all this and the generous financial allocation earmarked by the Centre, even till the beginning of this year uncertainty was looming large on whether Delhi can pull it off. Here is a rundown on the projects being implemented by the different agencies that are coming up in the city and their status.

Games village

There was a big question mark on the feasibility of the site proposed for constructing the Commonwealth Games village — where participants and other delegates were to be accommodated. City environmentalist cried foul as the Games village was coming up on the riverbed where concretisation is prohibited, as it is ecologically sensitive. Things started falling in place later this year with DDA selecting Emaar-MGF, a private developer to build the Games village. “Work has started on the ground at the Games village site an it will be completed on schedule,” said Dinesh Rai, DDA vice chairman.

But lot of precious time has already been lost. DDA will now have to work at a hectic pace to ensure that the big-ticket show is managed well.

Hotel accommodation

About one lakh tourists are expected for the Games. As on date Delhi does not have enough rooms to meet the requirement. DDA has managed to sell just over 15 of 38 plots put for auction. The hospitality industry is keeping its finger crossed. “As on date we are way behind schedule. No target has been set for completion of the different hotel projects. At this rate I don’t know how we will be ready to accommodate the visitors,” said Rajendar Kumar, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India.

However, Dinesh Rai, DDA vice-chairman, said, “Work is on track. We have been given the mandate to develop 6,500 rooms and they will be ready on time.”

Sports venues

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has been given the mandate to renovate the five main games venues where different sporting events including the opening and closing ceremonies, will take place.

These include the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, National Stadium, Indira Gandhi International Stadium, Talkatora Stadium and Karni Singh shooting range.

Work to partially cover the JLN Stadium has started while a new cycling track is being laid at IGI Stadium. “Work on Karni Singh shooting range will start in April this year,” said a UD Ministry official.

Metro connectivity

A new metro link will connect the Games village to central part of Delhi by June 2009. The Delhi Metro Rail Project (DMRC) is working to expand the existing 65-km Metro stretch to 120km. New links are coming up in West and South Delhi also. “The idea is to provide a smooth and high speed movement to people in the city. The new metro links will help people living in the outskirts like Dwarka to reach central parts of the city in 15 minutes,” said Anuj Dayal, DMRC spokesman.

Infrastructure projects

The projects are on various stages of implementation. “We are way ahead of our schedule as far as infrastructure preparations for the Games are concerned. The targeted date of completion for the various projects is December 2009 and we will meet the deadline,” said Rakesh Mehta, Delhi chief secretary.

But, even here some key games related projects have run into trouble. With the Archaeological Survey of India and Delhi Urban Arts Commission objecting, the government has not taken a final decision on the proposed tunnel road project linking the Commonwealth Games village to Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.