Thursday, June 17, 2010

Failing To Get Bids For Call Centre, Commonwealth Games 2010 Gives Contract To vCustomer

After finding no bidders to set up a call centre for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi through competitive bid- ding, the organizers have been compelled to appoint a busi- ness process outsourcing (BPO) firm.

"The contract was given to vCustomer on the recommen- dation of NIC (National Infor- matics Centre)," said Lalit Bh- anot, secretary general of the 2010 Games organizing com- mittee.

NIC is the primary informa- tion technology agency of the Indian government.

The organizing committee issued a tender inviting bids to operate the call centre six months ago, which failed to at- tract bids.

Senior officials of domestic BPO firms said they did not bid as the committee did not guar- antee any revenue; it was giv- ing the BPO operator an option of promoting its brand along side the Games.

Mid-size BPO firm vCustom- er has started setting up a team that will address phone que- ries regarding the Games from visitors, delegates and more than 30,000 volunteers, execu- tive director Navin Joshua said. The event runs from 3-14 October.

Nothing common about this baton

Few people know that the Queen's Baton, a symbol of the Commonwealth Games, which is now on a world tour covering a distance of close to two lakh kilometres, has three other replicas. Still fewer know that Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) was involved in the manufacture of the four batons.

BEL displayed one of the batons — for which it has provided technological support with Foley Designs and Titan Industries having given the mechanical design and fabrication, respectively — here on Thursday. Inspiration

Describing the inspiration behind creating the 0.6-metre-long baton weighing less than 2 kg, I.V. Sarma, Director, Response and Development, BEL said,

“The baton is an amalgamation of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology. It represents the cultural heritage, diversity and unity of the nation.” He substantiated this by displaying the sand collected from different States of the country which is embedded on the body of the baton.

The baton has been designed to be structurally strong, light-weight and rugged to suit the tough conditions of the journey in the relay.

The recordings and pictures can be directly uploaded to the Games' web server situated in New Delhi.

Queen’s Baton Relay for CWG’10 arrives in Sri Lanka

The Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be held in Delhi from October 3-14, arrived from Maldives here today.

The Baton touched down at the Bandaranaike International Airport, where the Indian High Commission and senior Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry officials were present.

After Colombo, the flame will travel through different places of the island country including adjoining Negombo, Wennappuwa, Kurunegala, Kegalle, Pinnawela and Rambukkana.

Hemasiri Fernando, President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka, said the arrival of the QBR "in our community" is being celebrated with great enthusiasm and many athletes will participate during it’s stay in Sri Lanka.

"We look forward to see many local people join the festivities and turn out to cheer on Baton bearers, including past and present athletes," Fernando said.

The Baton is on its way to 190,000-kilometer journey, during which it will pass through 71 countries and territories that make up the Commonwealth of Nations.

Sri Lanka is the 67th stop for the Baton and from here it will enter Bangladesh. The seeing off ceremony in Sri Lanka will be held at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium here on June 19.

The Baton would enter India from Pakistan through Wagah border and then embark upon a 100 day national tour starting on June 25 before reaching its final destination Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 3.

Shera also serves tea at Games office

If you thought gracing promotional events in the Capital is all the official mascot of the Commonwealth Games does, you were mistaken.

At the Commonwealth Games organising committee (OC) office in the morning, you can spot him serving tea to Games officials and moving files from one desk to another.

Meet Satish Bidla, the 23-year-old man whose job it is to breathe life into the 10-kg mascot suit and, of course, also to help babus in the office.

Bidla arrived at the OC's office at Connaught Place six months ago, looking for a job.

"I wanted the job of an office boy and started serving tea to senior officials and running other errands," he said. "One day I was asked to walk around by some officials. And they liked my gait."

At 5 ft 8 inches, the man from Chandigarh is the only official Shera on the OC's payrolls.

"He is the best Shera who has worked for us so far," said a senior OC official.

"He is very energetic even during outdoor events in this searing heat."

CWG: Special drives to check fire safety measures in hotels

In the run up to the Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Fire Services is planning to launch special drives to check fire fighting measures in city hotels.

According to officials, inspectors of the department would visit each hotel in the city to ensure that they adhere to all guidelines to control and avoid incidents of fire.

"We have prepared a blue print. We shall be beginning with five star hotels and soon come down to luxury hotels. Our plan is to make sure that all hotels have necessary fire safety equipments and facilities," a senior Delhi Fire Services (DFS) official said.

The department will also be visiting hotels in and around New Delhi railway station area.

"We have already issued notices to three leading hotels of the city after regular inspection of their premises," the
official said, adding that "we shall be conducting same checks for hotels in Paharganj and Karol Bagh area mainly besides
those near Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBTs)."

The drive is focused on ensuring that hotels have necessary equipments to douse fire, alternative escape route,
water storage tanks, working pumps and other devices to deal with contingencies.

"There will thousands of visitors who would be coming to the capital during the mega sporting event. The exercise is aimed at ensuring safe lodging to them. The drive will be completed by September 15," he said.

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held here between October 3-14.

Hotels and their associations have welcomed the move by the Fire department.

"Most of our hotels follow fire safety measures. We ask our associates to fulfil all criteria to ensure safety of
guests," said Arun Gupta, General Secretary, Hotel Mahasangh, an umbrella body of 1,200 hotels in the national capital.

Smaller restaurants in Delhi to be able to serve beer, wine

Smaller restaurants in the city will soon be able to serve beer and wine with Delhi Government deciding to allow them to serve spirits with low alcohol content keeping the coming Commonwealth Games in mind.

"We will issue L 4D licence to restaurants allowing them to serve beer and wine," Delhi Finance Minister A K Walia, who also looks after the excise department, told PTI.

Walia said to apply for such licence, any restaurant will have to get no objection certificate from MCD and police.

He said the excise department has laid down "certain conditions and criteria" to issue licence to serve beer and wine to the restaurants. "The annual licence fee per restaurant will be Rs 50,000."

At present, an annual fee of Rs two lakh is charged for permitting restaurants to serve alcohol, effectively allowing only big eateries to offer such services.

Officials said the decision was taken keeping the upcoming Commonwealth Games in view as nearly one lakh foreign visitors are expected to be in Delhi during the event. They said the process of issuing such licence to restaurants is underway.

Last week, government had granted licences to nine malls allowing them to sell alcohol. Imported foreign liquor and almost all brands of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will be available at the malls located across the city, including Laxmi Nagar, Janakpuri, Raja Garden, Rohini and Wazirpur.

The city government late last year had decided to allow sell of liquor in shopping malls to offer the citizens as well as visitors of the Commonwealth Games a better environment to buy liquor.

Delhi gets Rs 200 crore extra pocket money

The Capital got more money for this financial year than what it asked for, courtesy the Commonwealth Games.

The Planning Commission on Wednesday approved the city's annual plan of Rs 11,400 crore, Rs 200 crore more than what Delhi had asked for.

"We have got more money for urban infrastructure under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission," Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told reporters after the meeting.

She said a big chunk of the increased allocation would be used for completing pending transport projects before the Commonwealth Games this October. Delhi had made a presentation on its transport plans for the Games and its progress.

But the capital's revenue problems may aggravate, as property tax collection has not increased as anticipated. Property tax collected in 2008-09 was Rs 1,063 crore and in this financial year the government estimates to collect Rs 1,158 crore.

Dikshit suggested that the Resident Welfare Associations can be authorised to collect property tax and can get some commission for the job. This, the CM said, can widen the tax collection net, which at present covers only 30 per cent of the residents.

But the problem before the CM is that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, led by the BJP at present, controls property tax collection. Dikshit suggested that a framework could be brought to "institutionalise the system".

Besides, some Planning Commission members said most of the Delhi government policies favoured the rich. Sayeeda Hamid, a member, suggested that in the 12th five-year plan, Delhi should emphasise on policies for the poor.

The comments came in wake of Planning Commission's Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia saying
infant mortality rate in Delhi was high.

Railways promotes Commonwealth Games

This month, a special train will begin a cross-country journey to inform and take visitors down memory lane through rare photographs and memorabilia of the Commonwealth Games.

The train will be flagged off by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on June 24 and will return on October 2, a day before the Commonwealth Games start. It will stop for two-three days at select stations.

Five coaches of the train will feature exhibitions on the Commonwealth Games, while five will focus on information and technology in railway operations. An eleventh bogey will be converted into a 100-ft-long travelling sports photo exhibition, curated by sports filmmaker Sunil Yash Kalra, who has also donated rare pictures from his collection of over 5,000 photos.

A senior official of the railway ministry said: “In the Commonwealth exhibition section, we have focused on India’s participation in the Games. We have tried to explain the history of the Games. There will be trophies and medals won by sportspersons associated with Indian Railways. People will get a glimpse of the exhibitions during the stoppage at particular stations.”

The nostalgia exhibition curated by Kalra will showcase many photographs for the first time. It has pictures of sportspersons from 1928 to 2010, said one of the organisers.

“Apart from 70 rare pictures, of which the oldest is of the Indian hockey team that won the hockey gold medal in 1928, the exhibition will have pictures of about 100 national sports award winners from the railways in the last 75 years,” he said.
The train will be painted with the logos of the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games and the Indian Railways.

The train is the culmination of a promise made by the railway minister when she had presented the rail budget on February 28.

“Indian Railways will be the lead partner of the Commonwealth Games being hosted by India this year. To mark this event and also to spread the message, the railways proposes to start a Commonwealth exhibition train,” Banerjee had said.

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