With barely six weeks to go before the Commonwealth games are scheduled to start, Mint deviates from the scandals emerging on an almost daily basis. The following list looks at ten things that need to be completed to ensure the games will be held at all.
1. Get the stadiums ready: Deadline after deadline has been missed. Stadiums like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Talkatora Stadium and the Yamuna Sports Complex have been inaugurated but are plagued by problems like leaking roofs and falling tiles. The landscaping at the stadium complexes isn’t complete either.
2. Accommodation for visiting delegations: The Delhi Development Authority has already admitted that most of the houses that they were constructing for Games delegates and technical staff are not going to be ready. As if that isn’t bad enough, there are now allegations that the flats at the Commonwealth Games Village (meant to house the athletes) are sub-standard.
3. Get security arrangements in place: With a just a little over two months to go, there still isn’t a chief of security for the event. A number of countries have expressed their concerns on this aspect; and while Delhi Police says that it’s up to the task, remaining concerns need to be addressed fast.
4. Make Delhi a little presentable: The city was going to be ‘world-class’ for the Games. Huge restoration projects were taken up, the most ambitious being that of Connaught Place, the colonial shopping arcade. That project is nowhere near completion, but has left the area completely dug up. The least we can do is to make it somewhat presentable.
5. Give them some food: The contracts for catering at the venues still haven’t been given out. Perhaps realizing what a mess he’s in, the head of catering of the Organizing Committee, has just quit. Catering for audiences at stadiums is a huge job. Will the spectators get anything to eat at all?
6. Sort out the traffic: Dedicated traffic lanes are going to be created for Games vehicles, but as yet there’s little sign of them. Delhi’s drivers are notoriously difficult to control, and unless these lanes are created soon, the traffic is going to be a mess.
7. Get people excited: Every major sporting event today is preceded by exciting campaigns on television, radio, mobile phones and the Internet. Not so with the Commonwealth Games. The Games have no presence on social networking sites. There are no freebies or competitions to people excited. Worse still, the Organizing Committee (OC) still sparring with Doordarshan, the exclusive Indian broadcaster of the Games. The result is that Delhi is completely apathetic about the event.
8. Make it easier to buy tickets: This is not a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) property scheme for which people will be willing to queue up at fusty bank branches (which is where tickets are being sold from) to buy tickets. To attract people, tickets need to be sold at coffee shops, neighborhood stores and dedicated kiosks in various markets.
9. Put on a show for the tourists: The tourists who’re coming to India for the event would like to get a feel of the rest of the country too. There were grandiose plans to stage arts and cultural programs, none of which seem to have materialized. But it’s not too late to do this.
10. Media Arrangements: Despite sounding good on paper, the accreditation process for the media has so far been frustrating. Hopefully the Main Press Centre (MPC) at Pragati Maidan and the arrangements at the venues will be better.