Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Oh yaaro", Rahman launches CWG anthem

Oscar winning music composer A R Rahman launched the theme song of the Commonwealth Games with a rendering of "Oh yaaro, yeh India bula liya" at a glittering ceremony.

Rahman sung the song for around five minutes in front of a gathering which included Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, her Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda and CWG Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

"I feel honoured to get the opportunity to compose the theme song for the mega-event. It was not an easy task. I had started composing it six months ago and finished just last night," Rahman said.

A beaming Kalmadi hailed the launch of the theme song as a good beginning to the hosting of successful Games.

"A well beginning is the half job done. Now onwards you will listen this song day in and day out. It is the first move towards a great Commonwealth Games, which we had promised years back," Kalmadi said.

He said that he was happy with the sale of tickets for the Games, including the opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

"In the opening ceremony we will depict the 5000 years of culture of our country. We are getting good response as far as tickets are concerned. In the last two days 800 tickets have been sold in Gurgaon only. Thats good," said Kalmadi, also the chief of Indian Olympic Association.

"We are prepared to organise the best ever Commonwealth Games and that is the message I would like to give," he added.

The hour-long launch function also saw some enthralling dance performance by 'Sadya' group followed by another Gypsy group dance show by the artists from Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts.

The launch of the theme song got delayed after the Group of Ministers overseeing the quadrennial sporting extravaganza asked Rahman to change it a little bit.

Dikshit was all praise for Rahman, saying, "I am extremely happy that Rahman agreed to do the job. We could not have found a better person for it. I am confident that Delhi, with the whole India behind it, will achieve what many people believe is not possible."

"I hope that with this song we will now swing into the Games with broad smile. There are lots of problems, but I do believe that the end will be good," she added.

Hooda reiterated his promise to extend every help to the Organising Committee.

"I have the confidence that we will do it in a big way.

The CWG festival starts with this launch and Haryana is ready to give all kinds of help to make it successful," Hooda said.

Renuka project to miss date with CWG water supply

With barely a month remaining for the Commonwealth Games, there was no progress on the Renuka Project planned to supply drinking water to the national capital for the sporting event.

Infact,the State Authority working to acquire the land and build the project has so far failed to settle the land dispute, as the occupants were demanding higher compensation for their land.

The time frame for the completion of the dam was 2007-10, within five years. The Central Water Commission had approved the 40 mw Renuka Hydel Power project in May 1997 at a cost of Rs 1,150 crore. However, the project was put on hold as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh also wanted a share of the water flowing through their territories before reaching Delhi.

Himachal Pradesh has also received Rs 200 crore from the Delhi Government for the project proposed to be built on the Giri River, according to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's statement on November 9,2008 during the Renuka fair. The construction work for the dam was yet to begin as the land meant for the project was still under dispute.

CWG projects to complete in time, says Prithviraj Chavan

Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, today assured that all Commonwealth Games-related projects would be completed in time.

''All the projects of the upcoming Games would complete well in time. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Cabinet Secretary were monitoring the works,'' Mr Chavan told mediapersons here.

He was speaking after receiving a cheque of Rs 1.75 crore from Ranjeet Kumar Bhatia, Director General, Indo-Tibet Border Police for the victims of Leh flash floods.

''The focus is on completion of the games successfully and the issues of charges of irregularities would be taken up later,'' Mr Chavan added.

PM to visit Games venues tomorrow

Against the backdrop of construction delays and missed deadlines, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit a few Commonwealth Games venues in New Delhi on Sunday for an on the spot inspection of the facilities. The Prime Minister's inspection visit comes as part of the series of steps he
had taken to streamline and expedite the preparations for the October 3-14 mega event which had been rocked by a spate of corruption allegations.

Sources said that the PM will visit a few venues in the morning and interact with the Organising Committee officials there.

Concerned by the delays and the corruption allegations, the Prime Minister had convened a high-level meeting on August 14 to review the preparations for the Games.

He had formed a committee of bureaucrats headed by Cabinet Secretary and given it overriding powers by bringing into its ambit the Games Organising Committee that has been tainted by corruption charges.

Observing that there have been "slippages" in time schedules and deficiencies noticed, Singh had directed that thorough probe should be held by the ministries concerned into complaints of "procedural and other irregularities" and "those found guilty should face severe and exemplary punishment".

He had instructed that all pending works should be completed expeditiously in a time-bound manner and decided to visit select venues of the Games in the last week of this month.

Traffic 'biggest threat' at Delhi Games

Security experts have warned potential traffic snarls will pose the biggest security risk when thousands of athletes gather in New Delhi for the Commonwealth Games.
The Indian capital has faced traffic congestion on a daily basis due to the amount of road space being taken up by delayed construction work on games-related projects.

With projects experiencing further delays, it also means less time to plan for security on the ground.

Though there will be dedicated lanes for athletes and delegates, experts believe it may not be easy to keep roads secure during the October 3-14 event.

"Traffic needs to be reduced drastically at that time and the security systems need to be tightened on transport systems like the metros and public buses," said Vijai Nair, a retired army brigadier who has contributed to many research papers on defence and security.

"The need is to restrict VIP movement and ensure there is no strain on the system. Our policemen will be doing 16-17 hour shifts during the games and they need to be helped."

Nair believes that distances between venues will test the system.

"The geographical settings of venues will make things difficult. We will have to try and work on the lines of the Republic Day and the Independence Day when we have phenomenal security," he said.

India celebrates its Republic Day (January 26) on the day its constitution came into force, and Independence Day on August 15.

The central part of New Delhi holds military and cultural shows which are attended by most prominent leaders of the country amid tight security.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has conceded that games-related projects were not likely to be completed before September 15, just a day ahead of the games village being thrown open to athletes.

But she feels traffic can be handled without much difficulty.

"Delhi has the advantage of being round. There are several alternative routes and that will be to our advantage," she said.

The games will see around 8,000 athletes from 71 countries competing in 17 disciplines. The events are being organised at 11 stadium clusters, plus a series of practice venues.

CM inaugurates parking facility for 820 buses near Nehru stadium

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today inaugurated Prem Nagar underpass and the Kushak and Sunheri Nallah parking facility near Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the main venue for the Commonwealth Games. The site, developed by the MCD at a cost of Rs 303.95 crore by covering Kushak and Sunheri nallah, will provide parking facility for 820 buses during the Games and afterwards. Though developed to provide ample parking facility during the Games, the Chief Minister described it as a permanent infrastructure for Delhi. Such a facility was necessitated keeping in mind the large number of players, officials, mediapersons and spectators expected to visit the stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies. She expressed confidence that the parking facility will suffice during the Games. A total of 10,000 hutments and staff quarters of DJB and MCD, pipelines, BSNL power cables and water pipelines were relocated or shifted to bring up this parking area, which took a record time of 16 months. The parking area stretches over approximately 1.28 lakh sq mts. A length of 1030 metres was covered over Kushak Nallah extending from Sewa Nagar Culvert to Nehru Stadium South Gate, while a stretch of 950 metres was covered over the Sunheri Nallah from Dayal Singh College Campus upto Lala Lajpatrai Marg behind Lodhi Hotel. The waterway of both of the nallahs beneath the parking has been kept at 46 meters. There are three sets of modern toilet complexes and two restrooms at each parking.

The Chief Minister congratulated the MCD and its engineers for completing the work in record time and within the set budget.

She also inaugurated the Prem Nagar Underpass constructed with Rs 20.75 crore in a time period of 18 months.

Speaking on this occasion, Mayor Shri Sahney said the newly-constructed parking sites will be connected later on with Barapulla Elevated Road to Lodhi Colony and INA. A large number of DTC AC buses were parked there to exhibit parking capacity.

Local MLA Shri Neeraj Basoya, local councillors, Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta, Principal Secretary to CM P K Tripathi, Commissioner (MCD) K S Mehra, MD (DTC) Naresh Kumar, Special Advisor, CWG Ramesh Narayansami were also present on this occasion.

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