News, views and updates from the Oct 3 – 14 Games in New Delhi. Share your views.
Full coverage of the 2010 Commonwealth Games here
The reckoning has come for Suresh Kalmadi, the head of the Commonwealth Games in India.
Leading members of the press around various Commonwealth Games venues on a tour on Thursday, Kalmadi appeared unable to see, or hear, the construction work going on around him as he talked of “100% complete” stadia and accommodation.
Much has been made of the comparison between the upcoming event and a traditional Indian wedding, in which the chaos of preparation transforms into a glorious spectacle at the last minute. The problem is that Kalmadi and his committee are running out of last minutes.
While travelling to work in an auto rickshaw, the driver asked me, “Madam aap TV dekhte ho kya?” (Madam, do you watch TV?)Wondering what would come next, I replied with a nod.“Hamare desh mein agle saal khel hone vale hain, mehmaan ayenge magar mehmaano ke liye humne kya kiya? (We are going to have games in our country next year, guests will come but what have we done for our guests?),” he asked. With a very miserable expression he further said, “Padhe-likhe log bhi sadak pe kachra aur thook fekte hain.” (Even educated people spit and litter the streets) The auto driver is not the only one concerned about this issue.Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram remarked recently that people should learn to behave like citizens of an international city.“We want to encourage people to change their mindset,” he said. The Indian Olympic Association has expressed its concern over the logistical preparations for the event, but who is going to check on how the people behave?Beggars in the national capital are also looking forward to the Games. A large number of tourists would be a windfall and beggars are leaving no stone unturned to be prepared.An informal academy has been set up in New Delhi’s Rohini area where children are taught to beg in different foreign languages.Countries like Germany and China had taken the initiative to train their citizens to behave properly when they hosted the football World Cup and the Olympics. Should India also start a similar training program or is it too late?The Indian Tourism’s tagline reads – ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’. (Our guest is blessed and our visitor is God)Do you think people will adopt this tagline in the months to come? Are we really ready for a global event like the Games?
Riding home in the air-conditioned comfort of a gleaming red bus, I find it hard to believe I am travelling in New Delhi.
Buses in India’s capital are not known for being commuter-friendly. The state-owned ones are mostly rickety slowcoaches while the privately operated Blue Line buses zigzag their way through traffic, dangerously negotiating bends and racing each other in a bid to pick up passengers.