Saturday, October 2, 2010

As Games open today, Delhi closes down

Relegating all controversies surrounding its preparations to the background, the Capital is all set to play host to over 6,700 athletes and delegates from 71 countries who are here for the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games that opens at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium this Sunday evening.While the build-up to the Games has been marred by missed deadlines, reports of shoddy construction works, allegations of corruption and mismanagement, the cleaning up of the Games Village in record time and the arrival of several thousand athletes and delegates to the city has raised expectations again about successful conduct of the Games.

The Delhi edition of the Commonwealth Games is also the largest in the history of the Games both in terms of participating athletes and costs incurred. More than 6,700 athletes and officials are participating in the Delhi Games as against 5,766 athletes and delegates at the Melbourne Games, according to the Organising Committee. The expenditure on Games-related works has been pegged at Rs.36,000 crore, according to conservative estimates.

The next 14 days will also be a testing time for the Capital's citizens who will have to negotiate stiff traffic and security regulations as they go about their daily lives.

Over 28,000 Delhi Police personnel and 195 companies of Central para-military forces have been deployed at the 41 Games-related venues for the duration of the international sporting event.

The traffic police have issued an advisory on their website for Sunday's opening ceremony with suggested routes for those wishing to avoid Games-related traffic restrictions.

The advisory also guides spectators travelling to the Nehru Stadium on the various modes of public transport available.

The commencement of the Central Secretariat-Sarita Vihar corridor of the Delhi Metro railway on Sunday will be a big relief to commuters as the Nehru Stadium will be connected by the new line.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Government has notified that all shops and commercial establishments in the Capital will remain closed on the opening and closing days of the Commonwealth Games. Earlier, the Government had notified that all schools and colleges would remain closed during the Games. With these measures, the Government is hopeful that it can tackle the security and traffic situation.

Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta on Saturday clarified that restaurants and fast food eateries, hotels, movie theatres and chemists are exempted from closure on Sunday while shops, malls and commercial markets have been prohibited from transacting business.

Though the opening ceremony is scheduled to start only at 7 p.m., the traffic police have advised spectators to reach the venue sufficiently in advance to reach the areas in the stadium earmarked for them. The ceremony is expected to last two to three hours.

The opening ceremony is also being kept a closely-guarded secret with not many details forthcoming. A song and dance show encapsulating 5,000 years of Indian culture is one of the events planned for the grand opening ceremony on Sunday.

Oscar Award winner A. R. Rahman is also expected to perform his theme song for the Games.

The nearly Rs.40-crore aerostat will be the star attraction at the opening gala.

No comments:


back to top