Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Commonwealth Games work leading to power cuts

Transco Shutting Lines To Facilitate Construction At Various CWG Sites

Power cuts have become a regular affair this summer.However,this time the situation is not just a result of overdrawing by neighbouring states.As part of the Games preparations,the capitals power transmission utility Delhi Transco has been shutting several important electricity lines for civic agencies to carry out work over the past two months.With this,even available power has not been able to reach several households in peak summer.

On Wednesday,too,south Delhi was hit by several outages.Vasant Kunj residents were for a second consecutive day without power for up to six hours. On Tuesday,we had no power for 10 hours.On Wednesday again power went off at noon and was restored only late in the evening, said Amit Aggarwal,a member of the RWA.These outages,say sources,were probably a result of Transcos shutdown of the Mehrauli-Bamnauli transmission line to erect a transmission tower near Rajokari flyover for better power supply to IGI Airport.This is not the first instance when Games-related work has led to closure of transmission lines this summer.

Earlier,the 220kV Maharani Bagh-Lodi Road line was first shut in February/March for about 10 days and again from April 9 to April 28.This shutdown was necessitated by ongoing work on Barapullah Nullah.In May,Transco shut the crucial 220kV Badarpur-Okhla line almost for the entire month,this time for DMRC.Transco said it had to increase the height of a tower near Sarita Vihar to allow the Metro a better passage.One more transmission line was shut by Transco near Rajghat power house for tower work this summer.

Moreover,transmission lines have also been hit by several technical snags.On Wednesday,power in south Delhi colonies was further affected when one of the Badarpur-Mehrauli lines tripped.The forest department was pruning some trees in the area and a few branches fell on the line.The line could be restored only by evening and south Delhi areas witnessed outages on a rotational basis,said discom sources.

Though power sector experts agree that shutdown of these lines was essential keeping in mind the Gamesrelated work in the city,they added that the timing of the shutdown could have been more consumer-friendly. Shutting critical lines in peak summers always leads to a disaster.These could have been shut earlier in the year when demand was not so high, said an expert.Delhi Transco,however,said that the transmission line was not shut on their account. The Maharani Bagh-Lodi Road line was closed for the PWD,Badarpur-Okhla line for Delhi Metro and Mehrauli-Bamnauli line for IGI Airport.We closed the transmission lines as per their request to facilitate ongoing work in the area.They needed it for development work, said a Transco spokesperson.

Social watchdog questions Games expenditure

‘Total Commonwealth Games' cost exceeding Rs.10,000 crore'

‘Development for Games creating a more segregated, inequitable Delhi'
The Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) has questioned the expenditure on the Commonwealth Games, as asserted by the Organising Committee (OC) of Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi.

In a press release issued in response to a recent editorial by OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, HLRN attempted to “set the record straight”. The editorial said the total expenditure on the Games is Rs.1,620 crore. The Network asserted that the said amount covers only the cost of operational expenses and the actual amount spent is a “huge multiple” of the said amount.

While maintaining that it largely focused on the millions of livelihoods that will be disrupted because of the Commonwealth Games in the Capital, the HLRN repeatedly questioned the benefits of the huge amounts being spent in the name of a “positive legacy”.

Citing evidence from various sources including newspaper reports, government sources and speeches, the Network pointed out that the total cost of the Games was estimated to be in excess of Rs.10,000 crore.

It also questioned Mr. Kalmadi's claim that the expenditure on the Games will help make Delhi a “more classy metropolis”. HLRN Associate Director Shivani Chaudhary said the Games will “create a more segregated, inequitable and inaccessible Delhi” which will cater only to the city's elite.

The social, environmental and human rights violations occurring in the name of the Games were also mentioned in the report, HLRN said. These included funds diverted from social welfare schemes like Delhi Scheduled Caste Sub Plan towards the Games in 2006-07 and 2009-10.

Challenging Mr. Kalmadi's stand about the Games improving Delhi's sporting infrastructure and legacy, the Network also cited the example of the now “unused” and “badly maintained” stadiums built at the time of the Asian Games 1982.

As for the OC's claim of repaying the Rs.1,620 crore loan through broadcast rights, sponsorship, tickets and merchandising, HLRN made a reference to the “long term financial losses” suffered by cities like Athens, Montreal and Beijing that have hosted mega sporting events in the past. It said Delhi should learn a lesson in avoiding unnecessary expenditure from them.

The release further said that Delhi's new airport, flyovers and road projects should have been planned in accordance with the city's Master Plan, and not constructed because of the Games, as most of these projects have flouted institutional norms.

Commonwealth Games England hires Indian millionaire entrepreneur to secure Delhi funding

Commonwealth Games England have appointed Bhanu Choudhrie, a millionaire Indian entrepreneur, to chair its business advisory board in an attempt to secure the necessary funding before the squad's departure to Delhi in October.

Choudhrie will be working with "a group of eminent and respected sports minded individuals" as CGW looks to to raise £1 million to send a team of more than 500 athletes and officials to the Commonwealth Games.

Choudhrie, a former Asian Entrepreneur of the Year, has been at the helm of a raft of investments in recent years, including spa hotels in India and Mauritius to a portfolio of hospitals and care homes in the UK.

His involvement follows on last month’s announcement that CGE has raised over £100,000 through signing up Small Business Enterprise's to become an ‘Official Friend of the England Team’ for Delhi 2010.

Choudhrie said: “I am really excited to come in as Chair of the Business Advisory Board and am fully focused on the success of Commonwealth Games England.

"The Team have over 400 of England’s top athletes heading to Delhi and we want to make sure they have everything in place to help make the Games a huge success”.

Softball moves closer to Commonwealth Games programme

The Commonwealth Games Federation’s Sport Committee and Executive Board have approved softball as a ‘category 2 sport,’ following a presentation last week.  The promotion in classification means that Commonwealth Games host cities can now consider softball as an optional sport to add to the event programme, beginning with the yet-to-be-awarded 2018 Games.

There are ten core programme sports in the Commonwealth Games but a host city can add up to seven sports from those that the CGF has classified as ‘category 2.’

International Softball Federation Secretary General Ms. Low Beng Choo made the presentation last Monday (June 7) in London.

“This is another great step in our mission to establish softball as the most inclusive team sport on the planet,” said ISF President Don Porter.  “Our sport has shown its universality by not only being in 128 ISF member countries, but through its appearance on the programme of so many multi-sport Games.  We have long sought for the Commonwealth Games to be one of those though and today we are that much closer to accomplishing that goal.

“I thank the CGF Sport Committee and Executive Board for their trust and confidence in our sport and the resultant upgrade of softball to category 2.  I would also like to recognize our secretary general for her focus and commitment not only to softball but to last week’s presentation.”

CGF Chief Executive Officer Michael Hooper told Mr. Porter that the Committee and the Board “were pleased to note the progress being made within your development programmes across the Commonwealth and the ISF’s continued commitment in this area.”

The ISF organized the 1st Men’s Commonwealth Softball Championship in 2006 in Australia.

Badminton, table tennis venues for Commonwealth Games gets nod

After months of delay, venues for badminton and table tennis for the Commonwealth Games have finally got the green signal from Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC).

The fate of the badminton and squash courts and table tennis arena at Siri Fort Sports Complex and Yamuna Sports Complex respectively was lying in limbo for last several months in the absence of requisite nod after the DDA failed to comply with norms.

"The revised proposal (regarding stadium for badminton and squash competition at Sri Fort) was found acceptable with the observation that no trees should be cut," a member of the commission said.

For YSC venue, the DUAC has asked the project proponent to define the pedestrian movement for spectators as well ensuring a pedestrian plaza at the spectator entry.

The commission has given approval to the construction of venue with the condition of submitting a properly worked out
landscape plan of the project.

The member said the delay was on the part of the DDA and its job was just to ensure that rules were followed so that venues of international-standards could be constructed for the Games, slated to be held from October 3-14.

Glasgow must stop human trafficking threat before Commonwealth Games

The Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (Tara) in Glasgow has warned that preventative measures need to be put in place now if the city is to avoid problems like prostitution.

The Scotsman quoted Tara, as saying: “There is concern that the Olympic Games in London and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow may increase the threat of human trafficking into the UK and preventative measures need to be put in place now.”

“There is evidence to suggest that trafficking and prostitution increases in places where large sporting events are being held. Glasgow’s view is that creating a hostile environment is the most effective barrier,” it added.

“The more complacency and tolerance there is with regard to the sex industry in host cities, the more attractive it will be to organised gangs and exploiters,” it said.

The committee also heard a new report will today launch a scathing attack on “flawed” and “not fit for purpose” UK anti-trafficking measures.

Commonwealth Games message spreads through Motorbike rally from Delhi

The capital witnessed the commencement of bike rally (35 bikes) flagged off by Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in order to spread the goodwill message of the Commonwealth Games across the country.
The rally will travel across Haryana, Punjab, Himachal and Jammu & Kashmir covering 3500 kilometres in 14 days. During the journey, the bikers will distribute the message of unity and pride in the form of pamphlets and posters. The Chairman of CWG informed that all the participants are happy with their preparation as only 112 days are left for the commencement of this grand sports event.

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