Sunday, June 6, 2010

In 3 days, tickets worth Rs 1 cr sold

Commonwealth Games organisers have already sold Rs 1 crore worth of tickets for various events, barely three days after the sale of tickets opened for the public.

The cash registers started ringing on Friday when the tickets were  officially launched but over the next two days, they appeared to be on fire.

As many as 9,366 tickets were sold, including those for the Opening and Closing ceremonies. By Sunday, the total revenue earned was in the vicinity of Rs 1,01,73,860.

Tickets to the opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, which will feature big Bollywood stars, in what has been promoted as a spectacular event, are flying off the shelves.

“What we have realised from talking to people in Delhi is that everyone wants to watch at least one Commonwealth Games event,” said Lalit Bhanot, Secretary General, Organising Committee.

“So, when tickets to  the bigger events will be sold out, people would shift to the less-popular events as well,”
he added.

The organisers expect to sell around 17 lakh tickets in all, with earnings hovering around the Rs 60 crore figure.

After the ceremonies, hockey, athletics, swimming and tennis and squash are raking in the moolah the most.

Hockey was expected to be popular, and swimming also has a fan following.

“If Usain Bolt (Jamaican; world’s fastest athlete) confirms participation, athletics will get more crowd,” said a senior organising committee official.

Retail points like Central Bank of India branches and Hero Honda outlets are doing brisk business.

Availability will increase once bulk group booking starts in August.

But what is really fuelling the soaring sales is the online ticket counter.

“Around 60 per cent of the sales are online, and the rest are from retail outlets,” he said.

Indian Rail Catering and Tour Company (IRCTC) has been appointed as the official ticketing agency for CWG 2010 in consortium with Broad Vision  Systems and TicketPro.

IRCTC will provide tickets through the Internet, call centres and a network of retail outlets.

Each ticket holder can travel free of charge by Delhi Metro trains and DTC buses to reach and return from the venue on the day of the event for which  they hold a ticket.

Milkha may miss QBR’s arrival function in Chandigarh

The Queen’s Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games will arrive in the city next month but legendary runner, “Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh may give the ceremony a miss.

The 81-year-old Milkha is off to the United States for a month along with wife to see their golfer-son Jeev in action there and he is yet to decide whether to fly back to attend the ceremony.

“I am leaving for New York tonight. I would love to be back in Chandigarh when the CWG baton reaches here, but at this moment I cannot say that for sure,” Milkha told reporters.

Milkha had won the 400m gold with a timing of 47.6 second in the 1958 Cardiff Commonwealth Games.

Chandigarh is gearing up to welcome various national and international sportspersons as well as spectators and tourists from different places when the baton arrives here on July 3.

“Earlier, I had said yes to Chandigarh administration when they asked me if I was going to be available on July 3. Now, once I reach the United States, I will take a call and hope that I am able to be here for the event,” Milkha said.

The Commonwealth Games will be held from October 3-14 in Delhi.

Milkha also hoped that the Indian athletes will capitalise on the home support and come out with flying colours in the forthcoming quadrennial event.

“Just have the will power and you can do it. We are the host nation and it is the question of our honour and I am sure our sportspersons will keep our flag flying high,” he said.

Vendors to be evicted in Games clean-up

The clean-up drive for the Commonwealth Games may now start hitting neighbourhood services most Delhiites depend on. With encroachments being seen as a major security risk, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, along with the police, is now evicting roadside vegetable sellers, cobblers, those ironing clothes, panwallahs and illegal vendors selling clothes, food etc.

Said MCD commissioner K S Mehra, ‘‘Encroachment removal action is going on everywhere in the city. Action will be initiated against anybody who is encroaching on public place. Apart from authorized vendors, all roadside sellers will be removed by MCD.’’

Deep Mathur, MCD press and information director, said the civic agency does not issues licences to cobblers, local vegetable sellers on push-carts, and ‘presswallahs’.

MCD to buy 14 new fogging machines

Gearing up to combat vector-borne diseases like dengue ahead of the Commonwealth Games, MCD is planning to procure 14 vehicle-mounted fogging machines to prevent breeding of mosquitoes in the city.

The civic body at present has 10 vehicle-mounted thermal fogging machines but there is a need to purchase more such equipment to intensify anti-mosquito measures, officials said. ‘‘There is one machine each in 10 other MCD zones, but we require at least two each for all the 12 zones to intensify fogging during peak dengue transmission season. That is why a proposal was made to purchase 14 machines,’’ officials further said.

V-Mart plans to open 8-9 hypermarkets

City-based retail player V-Mart said on Sunday it plans to open 8 to 9 hypermarkets this year as it resumes expansion after a one-and-half year slowdown-induced hiatus.

The company also said it is looking to focus more on sportsware retailing in the run-up to the Soccer World Cup in South Africa and the Delhi Commonwealth Games to capitalise on the growing craze for sports merchandise.

“The last year and half was one of consolidating our business which also entailed a halt on our expansion. Now we are again expanding our retail chain and will add 8-9 hypermarkets by December,” V-Mart Managing Director Mr Lalit Agarwal said.

He said the company will invest Rs 10 crore for the project and open the new outlets in smaller cities, like Srinagar and Aligarh, to tap the emerging customer segment.

V-Mart, currently, operates 51 hypermarkets across the country, which caters to diverse product segments, including food and grocery, fashion, footwear, home products and so on.

“We are basically looking to tap small town consumers who have money and a craze for good quality stuff but lack options. The hinterland is a big virgin market,” Mr Agarwal said.

V-Mart is also bringing out a range of sports gears and merchandise in the run-up to this month’s Soccer World Cup and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

“The sports merchandise market in India is going to witness a lot of activity over the next 4-5 months. In line with this, we are expanding our line with products like logos, posters and other accessories,” he said.

The retail major is also going to roll-out schemes for giving out sports merchandise free with regular shopping items at its outlets, Mr Agarwal added.

DU's own TV channel has much on its platter

Flashing on LCD screens in college canteens will be live sports events of the Commonwealth Games, job opportunities and even entertainment programmes - the Delhi University's soon-to-be launched television channel is all set to revolutionise life on the campus.

The internet-based Delhi University Television Network (DUTN), which was conceptualised about five months back, will take the help of students and staff - especially of the mass communication department - to bring all the latest happenings and news of the university to the students, without depending on other forms of media.

AK Bakshi, director of Delhi University's Institute of Lifelong Learning (ILL) that will handle the operations of the channel, said: "It has been long felt that there is a need to bring together over three lakh students of the university scattered all over Delhi in over 80 colleges and ensure a free flow of information among them."

"Three or four LCD screens will be there in every college - in the canteen, in the students' common room and the staff room, where the students and staff will be able to access the network feeds. The project should take off in the next two-three months," he added.

"There is so much happening in the university - in terms of new courses, sporting events, convocations, talks, placements - that there was a need to have our own medium through which students can come to know of it all," he said.

"Admissions, for instance, is one time when a lot of information is floating around. It needs to be captured in one place for the benefit of all," he added.

According to Bakshi, there will be three main types of programmes on the channel - education, entertainment and information.

"Under education, there can be programmes on new courses that are being launched and cut-offs during admission time. In entertainment, we can showcase some short films that students of mass communication make as well as events during the college festivals," he said.

Information about which companies are coming to the campus for placements, discussions and talks by various dignitaries and even live and recorded feeds of the sporting events during the Commonwealth Games are some of the programmes that DUTN may telecast.

It may even show programmes on physical fitness.

"We are still in the process of drafting the policy framework for DUTN. Initially, it will be available only in 12 colleges of the north campus, but later we will increase the bandwidth to include other colleges too," Bakshi said.

"One must change with the times and use technology for one's benefit. Abroad, may universities have their own local television channel. This channel is an effort in the same path," Bakshi said.

Green Games’ Sustainable Transport Rally spreads the message of eco-friendliness

Keeping up with the Green theme of the Delhi 2010, the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi (OC CWG Delhi 2010) today organised Sustainable Transport Rally comprising of eco-friendly means of transport like cycles and electric (battery running) cars and scooters.

Almost 200 enthusiasts from all walks of life, young and old participated in the 8 km long rally. Cycle rally was flagged off by Shera, the Games mascot, from the OC CWG Delhi 2010 Headquarters and the other rally comprising of electric vehicles started from Delhi Chief Minister Mrs. Sheila Dikshit’s residence. Mrs Dikshit herself drove an electric car Reva. Apart from the Cheif Minister, Mrs. Kiran Walia, Health Minister of Delhi. Mr. R. K. Pachauri, MD, TERI, Mr. Parimal Rai, Chairman , NDMC, Mr. P. K. Tripathi, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and Mr. V. K. Verma, DG of the OC CWG Delhi 2010 participated in the Rally. Both rallies culminated at Commonwealth Gardens in Africa Avenue, Chanakyapuri where the Chief Minister and other guests planted a sapling in the Commonwealth Garden. 

Speaking on the occasion Mrs Dikshit said we need to spend our natural resources wisely as there are many species but only one Earth. She lauded the efforts of children, RWAs, women organisations and NGOs to make Delhi one of the greenest cities in India and in the world.

“Delhi is one of the largest cities. We need to strike a balance between the huge, rising population and the natural resources and spend them wisely. Almost 42% of the clean, fresh water available to Delhi is wasted, we must change our habits. Fuel consumption is another reason for environmental pollution hence battery run vehicles are an option. We must have courage to demand clean fuel so that companies provide us the same.”

Mr. Pachauri said, “It is heartening to see many young people today turning up to protect environment. We must work together to make sure that we bring prosperity for all.”

Mr. Verma said OC CWG Delhi 2010 is committed make Delhi 2010 the first ever Green Games. Delhi Government’s initiative for clean transport like Metro, Cycling tracks for cyclists, etc., are playing huge role in improving Delhi’s air quality. 

The Chief Minister released State of Environment Report for Delhi 2010. Bonsais were presented to all the guests. The Rally that travelled to different parts of the city spread the message  Reduce, Recycle and Reuse. 

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