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Issue 28
, 2010
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At the brink of basics

Anjali Pandey
Source: N/A, Date: , 2010

There is a common saying that promises are made to be broken. Much exemplary to the saying is the present scenario. Its that time of the year when all are geared up to augment and anticipate what would suit international audiences best or the reverse— what’s the best way to highlight a particular issue to the informed audiences globally. Raison d'être— the grandeur upcoming Commonwealth Games 2010((bad for commonhealth)) for which India has been awarded the prestige of hosting it vis-à-vis a platform for all to showcase what they’ve got irrespective of their sporty sides.

At a time when Delhi’s denizens have been pushed to act as hosts and tolerate the topsy turvy commonwealth planning, and are baffled with the city plans, there comes a question on actually how viable are these plans. If they are then do they even remotely meet civic and environment amenities for all? As per the plans laid down by the committee, the ‘The historic city of Delhi will look its best for visitors during the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi. One of the legacies of the event will be that it will leave behind a city much more beautiful and charming than it currently is.  The colonial city-centre and Delhi’s main shopping area, Connaught Place, has been given a new façade and is already experiencing resurgence. Rajpath, the main avenue in Lutyens’ Delhi, is being rejuvenated. The city’s monuments, an integral part of the rich heritage of Delhi’s past, are being cleaned and revitalised. New international standard signages and bus shelters will add to Delhi’s modern look as will new public conveniences such as call booths, shopping areas, etc.’

The first and foremost doubt that arises after juxtaposing what had been stated and what exists is on the mad race for ‘beautification’ of the city. If the city has been called a historic city it does not mean doing away with hawkers, old shops and places but a better management of the same with viable environment friendly options like placing dust bins at appropriate places, putting a fine on litter and so forth. All this will only add onto the splendour of the city.

City Infrastructure

With a vow for a dedicated metro line, twelve new flyovers and several bridges and under-bridges planned to improve road connectivity with the Games Villages, the sports venues, and within the city and road widening in constant progress and a total of 1,100 new low-floor, high-capacity air-conditioned buses which will ply on Delhi roads by 2010 to ease commuting, comes a question on the existing conditions for the inhabitants here. 

The broadening of roads day in and day night exposes all to the dust pollution in a weather which is already humid enough to cause breathing problems. Also what level of pollution would it add to the city is another gray area. This is in coincidence with the doing away of rickshaws, which are a symbol both of the heritage of the city as well as the most environment friendly transport for commuting short distances.

Civic Services

The civic services of the plans say, ‘Delhi Jal Board is planning to augment water supply substantially by 2010. Two new initiatives have been undertaken to boost water supply from the current 670 million gallons per day (MGD) to 941 MGD. Plans are also underway to streamline Delhi’s solid waste management system. Twenty new hospitals will be functional by 2010 to enhance Delhi’s healthcare and medical infrastructure. Special trauma ambulances will be on call during the Games to provide immediate relief in cases of emergencies.’

What are the costs and how the water supply situation will be dealt with is murky. To add, the solid waste management system that has been proposed had seen no signs before commonwealth (needless to ask why) and till now there is still not much clarity on how would they do it and where all.

As per the Delhi government data, of 3133511 hospitals in Delhi (2001-2002) there are only 530 beds available (does not include observation beds).   In such a scenario there comes a question if an addition of twenty new hospitals would increase the number of beds when its already too less for the Indian population.

Of all the preparations for the grand finale there is one simple question which comes from all sections, why did we not think of these things before for the people of the city and of whatever targe4ts have been set are we really going to achieve any? If yes, then when?