Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Corporates to manage stadia after Commonwealth Games

In a bid to maximize use of sports complexes such as the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and National Stadium after the Commonwealth Games (CWG) and to raise money for their maintenance, the government has decided to rope in private partners under a process it calls "legacy planning".

Under the programme, the ownership remains with the government but each stadium will be handed over to a private sector entity after the Games, which can then reap commercial benefits from sporting and non-sporting use of the facilities.

Sports Authority of India (SAI) has taken the responsibility of managing and operating five major stadia - JN Stadium, National Stadium, Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium complex, Shyama Prasad swimming pool complex and Dr Karni Singh shooting ranges - under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

The government has already spent more than Rs 2,400 crore in upgrade and renovation of these complexes. To ensure the facilities are not misused, SAI has issued a "negative list" which prohibits use of the stadia for certain activities.

An "empowered committee" headed by the sports secretary and SAI director-general is overseeing the project.

100 kiosks to help tourists, sell chocolates during Games

At least 100 modern tourist information kiosks which will also sell items like chocolate replicas of Qutub Minar and jalebi-shaped (circular) earrings will be set up in the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games in October.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will set up these kiosks by August and run them on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

“These information kiosks, numbering at least 100, will be put up at every Games venue and tourist spots like Red Fort, India Gate and Qutub Minar,” a senior official of MCD told IANS.

“As per the plan, private agencies will be asked to build the stalls,” said the official, who did not want to be named.

MCD has decided to sell from these kiosks items like chocolate replicas of the Qutub Minar, Old Delhi’s famous jalebi-shaped earrings and T-shirts with messages like “Welcome to Delhi”, “Commonwealth Games 2010″, “Delhi-Dil Se” and “I love My Delhi” and T-shirts with pictures of city monuments, he said.

“Apart from this, the kiosks will also have stone replicas of various monuments for sale,” the official said.

The stalls will also have handicraft and handloom items popular in various parts of the country. “The civic body is in talks with the Handicrafts and Handlooms Exports Corporation of India ,” the official said.

Pamphlets and other information material about the city, historical spots and information on tourist spots like Agra and Jaipur will also be available, he said.

“We are developing an exclusive software, which will help tourists get information on various tourist spots in Delhi and nearby places like Agra and Jaipur,” the official informed.

The MCD also plans to use these kiosks for currency exchange, but the civic body is still awaiting a clearance from the central government. The kiosks will also help visitors with taxi and autorickshaw booking.

Each kiosk will be 10 feet by 10 feet in size and its front will be made of glass. It will also have a solar panel on top to generate electricity.

The side panel of the kiosk will carry information about tourist spots. The kiosks will be in place by the first week of August and will be removed soon after the Commonwealth Games.

Ajmer Sharif pilgrims urged to pray for success of CWG

Delhi Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Raj Kumar Chouhan Tuesday urged thousands of pilgrims travelling to Ajmer Sharif to pray for the success of the Commonwealth Games to be held in October.

Chouhan was speaking at a function on the inauguration of a transit camp for pilgrims, who will attend the 798th annual Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti at Ajmer Sharif.

"We request you to pray for the success of the Commonwealth Games to be hosted by the city in October," Chouhan said.

The function was attended by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and officials of the Delhi government.

Rail Museum to take Commonwealth Games visitors on joyride

Light and sound shows, a tour on a special steam engine, documentary screenings…with all these new features, the capital’s National Rail Museum is expected to take thousands of Commonwealth Games tourists on a ride into the past.

Massive renovation and upgradation work has been taking place at the museum, which houses the Fairy Queen, the oldest working engine in the world.

“We have received a budget of Rs.50 million for carrying out renovation and upgradation work. We are in the process of commissioning several new facilities to attract a large number of tourists during the Games,” Manish Jain, director of the Rail Museum, told IANS.

A special documentary, “Gandhi and Railways”, showcasing Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for independence will be screened Oct 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the eve of the Games. The mega event will be held from Oct 3 to 14.

“Gandhiji’s struggle against racial discrimination in South Africa started after he was thrown out of the first class compartment of a train. The documentary will showcase his struggle in South Africa and on to leading the freedom movement in India,” Jain said.

Situated in the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri, the Rail Museum is a storehouse of information on the over 150-year-old history of Indian Railways.

The other attractions will be light and sound shows, a tour on a special steam engine and star engine exhibits - Fairy Queen, Patiala State Monorail trainway, fire engine, steam engine, as well as models of the Darjeeling Hill Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Kalka Shimla Railway and Matheran Light Tramway.

To attract a large number of tourists during the Commonwealth Games, the museum authorities have decided to stretch the closing time by two hours. The museums opens at 9.30 a.m.

“We are expecting to receive 8,000-10,000 visitors during the Games period. So we have decided to remain open till 9 p.m. instead of the scheduled 7 p.m. during the Games. Several guides and volunteers will be available to provide complete information about the museum to the visitors,” he said.

The authorities are also planning a nominal hike in ticket prices before the mega sporting event.

“As of now tickets are priced between Rs.3 to Rs.10. We will increase the prices nominally in the coming months,” he added.

The Rail Museum was inaugurated in February 1977.

Spread over 11 acres, it comprises an indoor gallery devoted to the display of various exhibits, models, records, photographs, documents and over 100 real size engine exhibits.

CWG: Delhi Police needs toilets for security personnel

With less than four months left for the Commonwealth Games, Delhi Police is grappling with the problem of providing clean toilets to thousands of central security force personnel to be deployed during the event. Departmental sources said after failing to arrange temporary rest rooms for these jawans, authorities are toying with the idea of positioning mobile toilet vans.

It has recently floated a tender for 100 mobile vans of 14 toilet seats each to be used for the personnel at different venues during the mega sporting event. Besides, a hunt has been launched to locate guest houses, lodges and to make temporary shelters available to accommodate security personnel of lower ranks during the event, the sources said.

According to rough estimates, about 50,000 personnel -- including Delhi Police and Central Paramilitary Forces -- will be deployed during Commonwealth Games, officials say. "We are in talks with government departments and private lodge owners for arranging accommodation and other basic facilities.

Soon, we shall be coming up with a tender in this regard also," a senior Delhi Police official, responsible for Commonwealth Games arrangement, said. Commonwealth Games will be here between October 3 to 14 this year.

Delhi Police has also prepared a crisis management plan to deal with any contingencies during the sporting extravaganza.

Now, 'feast' on the Qutub Minar

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is setting up over 100 kiosks in several parts of Delhi the city during the Commonwealth Games in October where you will get chocolate replicas of the Qutub Minar.

A top MCD official associated with the project told MiD DAY the kiosks will be arranged on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis by the civic agency. "We are floating tenders. These stalls will be built by some private agency. Basically, these will be information kiosks to guide the Games spectators," said the official.

The kiosks will be set up near the Games venues and other tourist spots like Red Fort, India Gate and other historical monuments including the Qutub Minar of course.

"The private agency will come up with various items for sale. These will include chocolate replicas of the Qutub Minar, the Walled City's famous jalebi shaped earrings, T-shirts that will have pictures of famous city monuments and Commonwealth Games messages like Welcome to Delhi, Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi- Dil Se and I love my Delhi. The kiosks will also have stone replicas of various historical monuments for sale," said the official.

The stalls will also have handicraft and handloom items popular in various parts of the country. "We are in talks with the Handloom Corporation of India," the official added.

Apart from that pamphlets and other informative material about the city and famous historical spots and other places will also be available. 

The kiosks will also facilitate visitors with taxi and auto booking. "A software is being developed with which one would get information of various tourist spots in the country with focus on tourists spots on the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Jaipur-Mumbai)," added the official. The MCD also plans to use these kiosks for currency exchange. "However, clearance is still awaited from the government," the official concluded. 

These kiosks will be 10x10 feet in size. The front side of the kiosks will be of glass. They will have solar panel on top to generate electricity. Each kiosk will have a side panel where information about famous tourist spots will be available. After the Commonwealth Games, these kiosks will be used by the government to run various schemes to facilitate the citizens.

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