Monday, July 19, 2010

Officials stay in denial, but start repairs

A day after Hindustan Times exposed the dilapidated state to which the Commonwealth Games shooting range at Kadarpur had been reduced to by a few spells of rain, sports ministry officials remained officially in denial, even as they embarked on damage control. On Monday, workers swarmed the shooting range, trying to repair the damage. Yet a senior ministry official told HT, "No major structural damage has taken place. The embankments have been washed away but this is normal during the rainy season."

"There is no structural damage at Kadarpur. All venues are of international standard and the country will face no embarrassment," Rahul Bhatnagar, joint secretary in the sports ministry, said.

The Central Public Works Department sent its own denial to HT with chief engineer S M Amrit claiming the shooting range was "in sound condition, and if required, games can be held there even today."

Repair work at other venues referred to in the report was restarted as well. Closer scrutiny was not possible, as security around most venues had been tightened following the report.

SAI stadia will be handed over on Aug 1

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) said on Monday that the nine venues it was preparing for the Commonwealth Games were completely ready and it would hand them over to the Organising Committee by August 1.
Dismissing media reports that claimed that the SP Mukherjee Swimming Stadium, one of the venues it was developing, was far from complete, a senior SAI official said all work at the stadia was as good as over.

"As far as sports requirements are concerned, everything is complete," HS Kingra, special officer of Commonwealth Games, told TOI on Monday. "There are no problems in SAI stadia. There is no leakage, seepage or anything like that."

Referring to media reports, he said: "As per requirements in diving, two diving boards are enough, three are not required. There were also reports that the warm-up pool hinges are loose. But I ask how can they get loose when they are yet to be used? They are loose because they have been not been tightened which we will do in coming days.

"And as reported that there were leakages, I want to state that they are spurts which are a requirement in diving."

Meanwhile, a SAI official said that the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, one of the venues which was yet to be inaugurated, was ready and would be handed over the Commonwealth Games organising committee by August 1.

"The building is ready, field of play is also ready. Some work on the lawn outside is being done which will be completed soon," he said.

MCD projects’ deadline pushed again

After postponing the deadline for Commonwealth Games related works taken up by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the civic body officials on Monday once again pushed it by one month to August 30, 2010. “The projects were slated to finish by June 30 as per earlier deadline and most of the
works have been duly completed. It is only those works which are hampered due to other agencies’ road cutting that are pending,” the administration (Engineering Department) gave these answers in reply to short-notice question.

“The High Powered Committee has decided July 31 to be the deadline for all road cutting works and restoration works. All works would be completed by August 30,” said Leader of the House Subhash Arya and councillors Suman Kumar Gupta and Ram Kishen Singhal.

Leader of Opposition Jai Kishen Sharma had raised the issue during House meeting even as he criticised the ‘tour’ by Mayor Prithviraj Sawhney and Arya.

“You took the media on tour of only those places which were almost complete. But there are scores of projects that are incomplete,” Sharma said and read out all the projects and their status of completion.

Tata Motors buses for Commonwealth Games will be disabled-friendly

Tata Motors will deliver disabled-friendly vehicles to the Delhi Government for the Commonwealth Games this year.

“We have an extra order to make 400 buses for the Delhi Transport Corporation to be used during the Games, of which some will be disabled-friendly,” Mr Ravi Pisharody, President, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors told Business Line.

The company won the contract to supply vehicles for the Games that begin in October.

The company will showcase its hybrid buses as well during the event — these are likely to be CNG-plus-electric technology vehicles that assure 20 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency.

Commercial vehicles

Tata Motors will also supply small commercial vehicles such as the Ace and its passenger range for the Games.

“By September, we would have delivered 2,600 low-floored air-conditioned and non-air conditioned buses to the DTC over the last two-and-a-half years,” he said. The move to introduce disabled-friendly vehicles is one of the various measures implemented in the Capital, which is hosting the Games, to keep up with international standards.

Disabled-friendly vehicles usually have special features such as an in-built ramp and are more spacious.

joint venture plant

Mr Pisharody said the company had also ramped up capacity in its joint venture plant with Marcopolo in Dharwad, Karnataka, that rolls out 1,000 fully-built buses a month.

On State transport undertaking orders under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, he said, “We have more or less completed the orders. The combined order of STUs is around 5,000 buses. Some of them are still under execution.”

As for the bus market, he said the company did not have as many Government orders as it used to. “We are, therefore, looking at retail market of buses. The response from private players has been encouraging,” he added.

Classical dances, martial arts to take centrestage at Games ceremonies

At the recent FIFA World Cup in South Africa, everyone danced to the tunes of Latin American star Shakira, but the opening and closing ceremonies of Commonwealth Games here will have no foreign influence and will be a truly Indian affair. Six classical dance forms, martial arts and sounds from the bazaars, it will be India all the way at the two ceremonies.

Incidentally, the centrepiece of the 2006 Melbourne Games was the 11 minutes allotted to India. The Scots, who will host the next edition in Glasgow, won’t get a similar time slot this time.

OPENING CEREMONY: The first eight minutes of the opening ceremony are being taken care off by ace percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, who is known for his exotic style of intricate rhythm structures on instruments like the djembe, duff and the bongos. The theme for the first eight minutes is ‘The Great Indian Bazaar’ where the audience will get a feeling of “how Indian streets sound like”, says Qureshi. “I have used different rhythm structures for every little detail of the bazaar which has been mish-mashed with sounds like an iron-smith using his hammer, a paanwala talking to his customers early in the morning and so on,” he adds.

This will be followed by voices of Baul and Naga singers and sounds of bamboo dancers, actually recorded samples provided by Bansi Kaul, a Delhi-based theatre director. Kaul was roped in by the Organising Committee one and a half months ago because of his extensive knowledge on the folk idioms of India. The next 15 minutes will have 480 artistes divided into six groups of 80 dancers each performing six Indian classical dance forms. Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Mohiniattam and Manipuri were chosen after brain-storming sessions with Kaul and the creative team headed by Bharat Bala. The theme here will be ‘Indian seasons’. Each group will be dancing to the same beat, but in their own forms. A few of the selected dancers will be on the central stage too.

Kathak maestro Birju Maharaj, who is handling the Kathak bit, said: “They have given monsoons to me, which is apt for Kathak. Most of the dancers are my students. But some of the other kathak dancers like Shovana Narayan have also sent her students because this is being done at a large scale,” says Maharaj.

A R Rahman, who is composing the anthem for Commonwealth Games, will also be performing during the ceremonies.

The one-hour ceremony with almost 9,000 artistes, dancers and musicians will also have the traditional march of participating countries led by 2006 host Australia.

CLOSING CEREMONY: The closing ceremony will be more about India’s martial art forms. This will include Kerala’s Kalaripayattu, Punjab’s Gatka, Manipuri Thang-ta and Tamil Nadu’s Silambattam. “It is after all a sporting event and I think the theme should showcase combat sports of India to the world,” said Kaul.

Behind the scenes
Rs 300 crore

Headed by Bharat Bala, the creative team includes Shovana Narayan, Prathibha Prahlad, Uma Ganapati Raju, T S Darbari, Javed Akhtar, Shyam Benegal and Prasoon Joshi

Ric Birch from Italy, heads of Spectak Productions

Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Limited

Howard and Sons an Australian firm who were behind the pyrotechnics of the Melbourne Games

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