Delhi has a long way to go for Commonwealth Games (Lead)February 24th, 2009 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) In a startling disclosure, a Parliamentary Standing Committee Tuesday said Delhi was running far behind the schedule in preparing for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The committee, headed by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury, said accommodation for a large number of guests during the Games would be a major problem as there are not enough hotels.
The report, which was presented before both houses of Parliament, said: “The committee is perturbed to note that the countdown to Commonwealth Games has begun but there seems inadequate infrastructure in all sectors such as roads, airport, accommodation, surface transport, entertainment, basic amenities, parking, information centres, security, stadia and supply of power.”
The Congress, which rules Delhi, said things would be place ahead of the Games. Party spokesperson Manish Tewari told IANS: “Delhi is gearing up for the Commonwealth Games. Things would be in shape before time and we would do it much better than we did it for the Asian Games (in 1982).”
However, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said: “We have two years, lot of work (is) to be done in the hospitality, hotels and tourism industry.”
“We have to redouble our efforts to put everything in place. We have to rise to the occasion to showcase India,” he said, speaking at the National Tourism Awards 2007-2008 function.
Union Tourism Minister Ambika Soni said at the function: “We are working hard for the Games.”
The report also stated that: “The committee is concerned that no proposal from the Delhi government for the infrastructure development, creation and renovation of hospitality facilities, modernisation of tourist sites was submitted or pending with the ministry of tourism till November 2008.”
The committee felt many projects are yet to be initiated, let alone completed. “In such a situation, absence of any proposal from the National Capital Territory of Delhi surprises the committee.”
It said the pace of creation of additional hotel accommodation at 39 hotel sites, auctioned by the Delhi Development Authority since January 2006, is tardy and behind the schedule. Of the proposed 39 additional hotels, work is going on only at 19 sites.
“About 30,000 rooms were needed during the games, but only 1,924 rooms are under the definite category, 2,015 rooms are likely and 1,990 rooms are doubtful.”
The committee observed that there were multiple municipal agencies (DDA, CPWD, MCD, NDMC) working on the games projects, but there is no coordination among them.
It stressed on the need to designate a single centralised authority to co-ordinate the work of the various agencies.
It said the work on tourist spots was hampered by the lack of accessibility to many destinations and monuments, resulting in a near absence of tourism in such places.
Reacting to the committee’s findings, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader V.K. Malhotra said: “We had said earlier also that Delhi is not prepared for the Games.”
“This is criminal negligence of the Delhi government,” Malhotra, who contested the recent Delhi assembly elections as his party’s chief ministerial candidate, said.