Wednesday, April 24, 2024

News Destination For The Global Indian Community

News Destination For The Global Indian Community

COVER STORY
LifeMag
INCHARGE OF MESS

INCHARGE OF MESS

Commonwealth Games 2010: Incompetent and Deceptive

An amazing sequence of comedy of errors led to national shame, but the player on the ground are unfazed. Just when you think you have seen the last joker of the Commonwealth Games organizing committee, someone would come forward and prove you wrong. The latest addition to this illustrious list is Lalit Bhanot. From Scam to Sham, from Game to Shame, it seems we have it all in our endeavour to organize the so-called best CWG ever. This is turning out to be a melodrama which could even send all Ekta Kapoor's serials packing. The antiques and our responsibility-ducking attitude have yet again brought a truck full of shit and a whole lot of shame to our nation.

What was initially thought of as a scam (Indians shouldn't complain, as scams are in our blood) has turned out to be a grand-scale deception. I am now sure of their modus operandi - Keep on dragging your feet and don't act till the point someone presses the panic button. Then the last minute the Jugad funda of us Indians would come into play and funds would be released. No questions asked and then it's all about filling our pockets and fooling a billion-plus population. If it was not an attempt at deception, then why was the media was shown only a few selected Games village towers 10 days ago? Why were rosy pictures drawn before all of us? When reality came asking about its legitimacy, 10 days later we have fallen apart like a pack of cards. Suddenly all are critical of the Games, including the two Mikes (Hooper & Fennell). When the same pair were all praised for a brilliant Games village 10 days back, why are they critical now? Why are they running around with threats and giving us 24-hour deadlines to clean our posteriors or forget the Games? Uncomfortable but mandatory questions need to be answered in a hurry.

Let's see how it all started and what Mr. Bhanot has to say when the CWG directors turned psychotic about the hygiene factor in the Games village. Instead of accepting the flaws, he tried to teach all of us the theory of relativity in terms of hygiene. I am not sure how violently Albert Einstein would have turned in his grave. This brilliant attempt of his which might not win him a Nobel Prize left all of us high and dry. His statement was bizarre, ridiculous, disgusting and shameful - all at the same time. Does he have any idea that the whole world would be watching him blabber and would be dropping to the floor laughing at us? What he meant, when he said we have our hygiene standards and they have theirs, is out of my wavelength. Does he want to suggest that we Indians are filthy and living in the dark ages without an idea what hygiene is all about? Does he want foreigners should come to teach us about hygiene? Does he want to say that we are Jaahil and uncultured as a nation? You might be thick-skinned Mr. Bhanot but for all of us, your jingoisms are shameful, to say the least. Forget the scam, forget the incompetence - for this bizarre statement of his, he should be sacked at once.

If you think you are done with all the gimmicks then look at another genius - Maj (Retd) Dalbir Singh (Games village mayor). When hounded with the same hygiene questions, he was clueless and was at sea to say the least. I can't elaborate on what he said about various factors, as nobody can. So I better just list them one by one

  1. Dogs sleeping inside athlete rooms - The fault of the MCD. The dog-catching team was asked for but yet to report. So the stray dogs can jump in and take an afternoon nap on the same beds where athletes are supposed to relax. For God's sake run after anyone you like, but don't poison these innocent dogs for your ego.
  2. Paan spits on the wall - The workers are all from UP & Bihar and are fond of their Paan and Gutkha. So they might have done this artwork. Ask them instead of me, as I myself don't consume them nor do I have spit all around.
  3. Messy and filthy rooms - Even when you occupy your own flat for the first time, it generally is messy. So we citizens shouldn't blow our ass for this small reason. Oh really? Then should we ask all the athletes to come here along with their Jhadu, bucket and pocha lagane ki kapda? That would pretty much settle the case and solve the problem.
  4. OC guys pissing all around in the open air - It’s nature's call and one better is disposed to nature directly. It is a matter of the individual's choice. You might like Western toilets but I might prefer visiting the nearest paddy field with a lot in my hand. You know it's all about comfort levels. This is another theory of relativity in terms of shitting. And Albert Einstein turned violently again.
  5. Algae in water tanks

It was for sure a bad day and the best was reserved till the last. Out of nowhere a foot overbridge near the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium gave in. This eventuality made the queen of the opera to come to the stage with her polished Miranda house ac-cent. How I can forget her flamboyant cotton Saree? When asked how each day a new bloody thing can happen to the CWG, this is what she has to say - The foot over the bridge was for the aam admi (so shouldn't be attached with CWG), not the players. So? Aam aadmi can die as long as you can save your back from the CWG ghost? Mam, can you imagine what would have happened - if a few athletes were right below and the bridge

crashed on their heads? Don't bother how many of the aam aadmi the bridge might take a long while crashing on the poor athletes' heads. As per her, the builder is blacklisted and some bloody enquiry would be carried out with reports expected in three weeks. So for the next three weeks, we shouldn't bother her by showing our filthy and unhygienic faces. Let me admit - I am still in dilemma, whether to cry or laugh at these stupid statements. To top all this, a section of the roof in the wrestler's arena of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsed, and the Delhi CM, Ms. Sheila Dixit's riposte was that small things keep happening.

The Games are fast turning out to be more irritating than anything. It is only because we have walked (read fooled ourselves) too far, we have no option left but to save our face and restore some respect of our nation, which was badly maligned by a few crooks. M.S. Gill can promptly walk away from the cameras (no single word uttered) without taking any responsibility or even bothering to explain how he allowed so much mess to continue for years altogether. But we are not shameless like Mr. Gill and continue to pray our typical Indian Jugad might just see us save our already blackened face and red ass a little, one more time. I will offer a coconut at the nearest Ganpati temple from my side if we manage to do so. But on second thought - why can't all these rascals go somewhere and hang themselves instead? Skunks!

However, a serious follow-up of the ongoing much-published public loot would be crucial to ensure growing India's international clout. The government of India must take the blame for the mess because the entire responsibility of the mess, Urban Development ministry is the apex body to control the various agencies including Indian Olympic Association headed by legendary Suresh Kalmadi. Indian PM owes a responsibility to explain the inaction despite the media and opposition parties have raised the doubts since last year or so.. UPA chair-person has assured strict action against the guilty but we know how justice is delivered in India hence keep no hopes there.. Very soon we may locate Kalmadi & Co in a seven-star hotel rubbing shoulders with top leadership and media people for the damage control PR exercise to bring calm and sanity, Indian are by and large considered accommodating people hence they will forgive the guilty. But the core question here is who will pay for the dent of India Inc global brand? The CWG mess will affect the India Inc brand, and business environment, it will put Indian diplomacy on the back foot leading to political chaos.

Rs 1 lakh crore CWG scam? Will Manmohan Singh speak up

New Delhi: Upping the ante over the alleged corruption in Commonwealth Games, the Opposition parties claimed that the scam is to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore. The CWG scam rocked the Parliament, Indian media and people at large.

"The total money involved in CWG scam is Rs 1 lakh crore. I have the documents to prove it," JD-U chief Sharad Yadav said.

"There are so many areas of corruption uncovered," said RJD chief Lalu Yadav amid demands that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must answer.

Even as the Opposition aims to target the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government in Parliament over the issue of alleged financial irregularities in the Commonwealth Games, fresh allegations have surfaced against Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi suggesting he was aware of payments made to controversial UK-based firm AM films and its sister concern AM Car and Van Hire.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said those found guilty of corruption in the upcoming Commonwealth Games will be punished once the event is over. "The Prime Minister is looking into the corruption charges against the Commonwealth Games " said Gandhi, at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP).

"The Commonwealth Games are not related to any political party or individual. It is a national pride and efforts should be made to hold them successfully," she added.

The destructive face of CWG 2010 - Kalmadi

As the soon-to-start Commonwealth Games (CWG) is getting mired in one controversy after another and is being flagged as a national shame, the people of one village in Karnataka are upset more than anybody else. It's Kalmady, the native place of CWG Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi near Udupi.

Suresh Kalmadi's father and grandfather used to live in this village but moved out 50 years ago. As Suresh Kalmadi's name has been popping up in the media in connection to the Games, the locals of Kalmady village feel that the name of their village is getting tarnished. "We are not worried about the conduct of the Games, we are perturbed because the name of our village keeps popping up for the wrong reasons on national media every time Suresh Kalmadi's name is mentioned," said the Kalmady Yuvaka Sangha members.

Former president of the Udupi Town Municipal Council Somashekar Bhat, also a close associate of the new state minister of higher education VS Acharya said, "I feel bad about the controversies surrounding Suresh Kalmadi and CWG. People have been asking me and my party workers about what's been happening." Sudharkar Salian, a political leader in Kalmady told DNA, that he plans to send a letter to the media saying: "We disown the name Kalmady attached to a controversial person like Suresh Kalmadi. However, there is one comforting factor that Suresh Kalmadi's surname is being spelt as 'Kalmadi' and not 'Kalmady', the name of our village."

‘India has itself to blame for the Commonwealth Games 2010 chaos’

India has only itself to blame for the gigantic mess of the Commonwealth Games, says Mike Hooper, the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

"We have a host city contract that clearly says that the responsibility for the implementation and delivery of all those promises that were made, all the standards, etc were the Government of India, the Delhi Government and the Organising Committee. We don't have the resources to deliver that. That comes down to the host. We pass on all the rights associated with the games to the host. What we try to do is to support and work with the Organising Committee. But ultimately to get the work done and to do it, that is the responsibility of the stakeholders in India, " Hooper told NDTV.

The CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation added, " The buck stops with all the stakeholders. We now hope that between now and October 14, we see a successful celebration of the games. “

In this last week, the Athletes' village was found in a such filthy condition that a few countries lodged formal complaints with the Organizing Committee. Apartments meant for use by participants and officials were described as "un-liveable." New Zealand has hired its own cleaners to prepare for its contingent's arrival.

Hooper denied stating in the past that the Games Village was better than the one used in Beijing for the Olympics. "we were aware of the filth in the Village on September 15," Hooper said, emphasizing that he went public with details of the unhygienic conditions only after assurances on cleaning up the village were not met. Toilets were found choked with human refuse. One bed had been soiled by a dog.

Hooper also trained his guns on the Indian Sports Minister, MS Gill., describing his "monsoon wedding" re-mark as unacceptable. He said, " There is a reason why the Games are awarded seven years earlier and that is because there is a huge amount of work to do. The Minister of Sport talks about the monsoon wedding approach. That is unacceptable. The reality is, the venues did not start on time. Had they started earlier, we wouldn't be in half the predicament we've seen in recent months." In July, Gill had said, "Commonwealth Games is like an Indian monsoon wedding. Everything is being done at the last minute."

The yawning gap between concept and execution

Now that the commonwealth games are less than a fortnight away and the monsoons showing no signs of abating, the preparations are really going down to the wires. Honestly, I am more than a little confused about whether to support the games or not. At one level, I have started feeling bad for the organisers.

The rains have been so relentless that even those who are well-intentioned and want to do a genuinely good job are frustrated. Also, most of us don't want to be embarrassed. But then, I tell myself that some of these jokers, which basically means the top guys in the organising committee and the civic administration and their political masters, have had 7 years to get things ready, and delayed things deliberately to create panic so that no question asked funds are released. So they deserve no mercy.

And then again, the thought creeps up. Why should the nation be embarrassed for the folly of these individuals, especially when we know that those responsible for the mess are thick-skinned?

The Prime Minister and his boss, Sonia Gandhi, have promised that the guilty will 'not be spared' once the games are over. But do you really believe that one bit? I can almost envision the games being projected as a grand success and in the ensuing euphoria, all would be forgotten, including the fact that what should have cost X has cost us 20 X and that the quality has been shockingly sub-standard, the excessive makeup and magical illumination of games venues notwithstanding. Of course, those responsible would move on and perhaps even bid for the Olympics to build on the hugely successful commonwealth games.

While all such issues, be it quality, games a success or not, who's guilty and who's not, etc will be discussed thread-bare for times to come, I have a few very basic observations, borne mostly out of my walking and cycling trips all around the city these past few days. I am sharing a few of them very briefly with the intention of getting feedback from you all.

If you are in the car, the newly laid stones on the sidewalks around Delhi look beautiful. But looks can be deceptive. Step out of the car to know what the reality is. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I say one can't walk more than 20 steps before encountering some obstacle. It could be in the form of a broken tile, a missing tile, the stump of a discarded light pole, a sudden depression that has been plastered over, or a sudden change in level. If the intention was to provide walkways that care for the pedestrian, it has fallen flat. And the experience is uniform, whether it is VVIP areas or areas around the event venues. Even the tactile tiles, that have ostensibly been put to help the blind, as is done in the developed world, have been done without a thought. You could end up in a bush or in a pile of debris.

Also, in an attempt to make the sidewalks more disabled-friendly, ramps have been built. But like a lot else, it seems to have been done just because they were asked to build a ramp. No thought has gone behind why it needs to be built in a particular way so that it actually helps those in need. There is no uniformity in the gradient or the access points and that is just part of the problem.

Another heartening feature visible, if you are moving around in cars, is the cycle lanes being created at a number of places.

Little excites me as much as this, for I genuinely believe a bicycle is ideal for travelling short distances. But like the sidewalks, their execution leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. The lane's width can switch from a few feet to a few inches, and worse, it can often lead to a dead end or into a tree.

Basically what is happening is that all these are being done just because some worthies thought all this is needed in an international city, without a clue as to how it is to be executed. There is science behind tactile tiles, or the angle at which disabled-friendly ramps are to be built, for example, but it'd be churlish to expect that anyone is even aware of these aspects. It hurts.

It really hurts. How we are being milked can be gauged from the fact that most of those involved in the implementation of these projects have spent a considerable amount of taxpayers' money on overseas study tours to learn the implementation of such projects. In the absence of any feedback or accountability, one just ends up spending a lot of money with almost zero benefits.

Just some training and awareness could have resulted in the creation of civic facilities that Delhi perhaps deserves as the capital of a growing economic power.

But instead, we are creating infrastructure that is neither here nor there. In fact, if one were to sincerely follow the signage put up all over, one could actually get into a spot of bother.

A number of our readers, I am sure, are aware of what is being done and have an opinion on how it should be done. They would have travelled the world too. Would appreciate your feedback and suggestions and put them together to be shared with the authorities. I can only hope this will somehow help in future. It is easy to give up and live with the rot, but then that is taking the easy way out and we don't want that.

(Indian Press reporting on CWG mess, by Rajesh Kalra courtesy TOI)

INCHARGE OF MESS

INCHARGE OF MESS

Commonwealth Games 2010: Incompetent and Deceptive

An amazing sequence of comedy of errors led to national shame, but the player on the ground are unfazed. Just when you think you have seen the last joker of the Commonwealth Games organizing committee, someone would come forward and prove you wrong. The latest addition to this illustrious list is Lalit Bhanot. From Scam to Sham, from Game to Shame, it seems we have it all in our endeavour to organize the so-called best CWG ever. This is turning out to be a melodrama which could even send all Ekta Kapoor's serials packing. The antiques and our responsibility-ducking attitude have yet again brought a truck full of shit and a whole lot of shame to our nation.

What was initially thought of as a scam (Indians shouldn't complain, as scams are in our blood) has turned out to be a grand-scale deception. I am now sure of their modus operandi - Keep on dragging your feet and don't act till the point someone presses the panic button. Then the last minute the Jugad funda of us Indians would come into play and funds would be released. No questions asked and then it's all about filling our pockets and fooling a billion-plus population. If it was not an attempt at deception, then why was the media was shown only a few selected Games village towers 10 days ago? Why were rosy pictures drawn before all of us? When reality came asking about its legitimacy, 10 days later we have fallen apart like a pack of cards. Suddenly all are critical of the Games, including the two Mikes (Hooper & Fennell). When the same pair were all praised for a brilliant Games village 10 days back, why are they critical now? Why are they running around with threats and giving us 24-hour deadlines to clean our posteriors or forget the Games? Uncomfortable but mandatory questions need to be answered in a hurry.

Let's see how it all started and what Mr. Bhanot has to say when the CWG directors turned psychotic about the hygiene factor in the Games village. Instead of accepting the flaws, he tried to teach all of us the theory of relativity in terms of hygiene. I am not sure how violently Albert Einstein would have turned in his grave. This brilliant attempt of his which might not win him a Nobel Prize left all of us high and dry. His statement was bizarre, ridiculous, disgusting and shameful - all at the same time. Does he have any idea that the whole world would be watching him blabber and would be dropping to the floor laughing at us? What he meant, when he said we have our hygiene standards and they have theirs, is out of my wavelength. Does he want to suggest that we Indians are filthy and living in the dark ages without an idea what hygiene is all about? Does he want foreigners should come to teach us about hygiene? Does he want to say that we are Jaahil and uncultured as a nation? You might be thick-skinned Mr. Bhanot but for all of us, your jingoisms are shameful, to say the least. Forget the scam, forget the incompetence - for this bizarre statement of his, he should be sacked at once.

If you think you are done with all the gimmicks then look at another genius - Maj (Retd) Dalbir Singh (Games village mayor). When hounded with the same hygiene questions, he was clueless and was at sea to say the least. I can't elaborate on what he said about various factors, as nobody can. So I better just list them one by one

  1. Dogs sleeping inside athlete rooms - The fault of the MCD. The dog-catching team was asked for but yet to report. So the stray dogs can jump in and take an afternoon nap on the same beds where athletes are supposed to relax. For God's sake run after anyone you like, but don't poison these innocent dogs for your ego.
  2. Paan spits on the wall - The workers are all from UP & Bihar and are fond of their Paan and Gutkha. So they might have done this artwork. Ask them instead of me, as I myself don't consume them nor do I have spit all around.
  3. Messy and filthy rooms - Even when you occupy your own flat for the first time, it generally is messy. So we citizens shouldn't blow our ass for this small reason. Oh really? Then should we ask all the athletes to come here along with their Jhadu, bucket and pocha lagane ki kapda? That would pretty much settle the case and solve the problem.
  4. OC guys pissing all around in the open air - It’s nature's call and one better is disposed to nature directly. It is a matter of the individual's choice. You might like Western toilets but I might prefer visiting the nearest paddy field with a lot in my hand. You know it's all about comfort levels. This is another theory of relativity in terms of shitting. And Albert Einstein turned violently again.
  5. Algae in water tanks

It was for sure a bad day and the best was reserved till the last. Out of nowhere a foot overbridge near the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium gave in. This eventuality made the queen of the opera to come to the stage with her polished Miranda house ac-cent. How I can forget her flamboyant cotton Saree? When asked how each day a new bloody thing can happen to the CWG, this is what she has to say - The foot over the bridge was for the aam admi (so shouldn't be attached with CWG), not the players. So? Aam aadmi can die as long as you can save your back from the CWG ghost? Mam, can you imagine what would have happened - if a few athletes were right below and the bridge

crashed on their heads? Don't bother how many of the aam aadmi the bridge might take a long while crashing on the poor athletes' heads. As per her, the builder is blacklisted and some bloody enquiry would be carried out with reports expected in three weeks. So for the next three weeks, we shouldn't bother her by showing our filthy and unhygienic faces. Let me admit - I am still in dilemma, whether to cry or laugh at these stupid statements. To top all this, a section of the roof in the wrestler's arena of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsed, and the Delhi CM, Ms. Sheila Dixit's riposte was that small things keep happening.

The Games are fast turning out to be more irritating than anything. It is only because we have walked (read fooled ourselves) too far, we have no option left but to save our face and restore some respect of our nation, which was badly maligned by a few crooks. M.S. Gill can promptly walk away from the cameras (no single word uttered) without taking any responsibility or even bothering to explain how he allowed so much mess to continue for years altogether. But we are not shameless like Mr. Gill and continue to pray our typical Indian Jugad might just see us save our already blackened face and red ass a little, one more time. I will offer a coconut at the nearest Ganpati temple from my side if we manage to do so. But on second thought - why can't all these rascals go somewhere and hang themselves instead? Skunks!

However, a serious follow-up of the ongoing much-published public loot would be crucial to ensure growing India's international clout. The government of India must take the blame for the mess because the entire responsibility of the mess, Urban Development ministry is the apex body to control the various agencies including Indian Olympic Association headed by legendary Suresh Kalmadi. Indian PM owes a responsibility to explain the inaction despite the media and opposition parties have raised the doubts since last year or so.. UPA chair-person has assured strict action against the guilty but we know how justice is delivered in India hence keep no hopes there.. Very soon we may locate Kalmadi & Co in a seven-star hotel rubbing shoulders with top leadership and media people for the damage control PR exercise to bring calm and sanity, Indian are by and large considered accommodating people hence they will forgive the guilty. But the core question here is who will pay for the dent of India Inc global brand? The CWG mess will affect the India Inc brand, and business environment, it will put Indian diplomacy on the back foot leading to political chaos.

Rs 1 lakh crore CWG scam? Will Manmohan Singh speak up

New Delhi: Upping the ante over the alleged corruption in Commonwealth Games, the Opposition parties claimed that the scam is to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore. The CWG scam rocked the Parliament, Indian media and people at large.

"The total money involved in CWG scam is Rs 1 lakh crore. I have the documents to prove it," JD-U chief Sharad Yadav said.

"There are so many areas of corruption uncovered," said RJD chief Lalu Yadav amid demands that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must answer.

Even as the Opposition aims to target the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government in Parliament over the issue of alleged financial irregularities in the Commonwealth Games, fresh allegations have surfaced against Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi suggesting he was aware of payments made to controversial UK-based firm AM films and its sister concern AM Car and Van Hire.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said those found guilty of corruption in the upcoming Commonwealth Games will be punished once the event is over. "The Prime Minister is looking into the corruption charges against the Commonwealth Games " said Gandhi, at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP).

"The Commonwealth Games are not related to any political party or individual. It is a national pride and efforts should be made to hold them successfully," she added.

The destructive face of CWG 2010 - Kalmadi

As the soon-to-start Commonwealth Games (CWG) is getting mired in one controversy after another and is being flagged as a national shame, the people of one village in Karnataka are upset more than anybody else. It's Kalmady, the native place of CWG Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi near Udupi.

Suresh Kalmadi's father and grandfather used to live in this village but moved out 50 years ago. As Suresh Kalmadi's name has been popping up in the media in connection to the Games, the locals of Kalmady village feel that the name of their village is getting tarnished. "We are not worried about the conduct of the Games, we are perturbed because the name of our village keeps popping up for the wrong reasons on national media every time Suresh Kalmadi's name is mentioned," said the Kalmady Yuvaka Sangha members.

Former president of the Udupi Town Municipal Council Somashekar Bhat, also a close associate of the new state minister of higher education VS Acharya said, "I feel bad about the controversies surrounding Suresh Kalmadi and CWG. People have been asking me and my party workers about what's been happening." Sudharkar Salian, a political leader in Kalmady told DNA, that he plans to send a letter to the media saying: "We disown the name Kalmady attached to a controversial person like Suresh Kalmadi. However, there is one comforting factor that Suresh Kalmadi's surname is being spelt as 'Kalmadi' and not 'Kalmady', the name of our village."

‘India has itself to blame for the Commonwealth Games 2010 chaos’

India has only itself to blame for the gigantic mess of the Commonwealth Games, says Mike Hooper, the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

"We have a host city contract that clearly says that the responsibility for the implementation and delivery of all those promises that were made, all the standards, etc were the Government of India, the Delhi Government and the Organising Committee. We don't have the resources to deliver that. That comes down to the host. We pass on all the rights associated with the games to the host. What we try to do is to support and work with the Organising Committee. But ultimately to get the work done and to do it, that is the responsibility of the stakeholders in India, " Hooper told NDTV.

The CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation added, " The buck stops with all the stakeholders. We now hope that between now and October 14, we see a successful celebration of the games. “

In this last week, the Athletes' village was found in a such filthy condition that a few countries lodged formal complaints with the Organizing Committee. Apartments meant for use by participants and officials were described as "un-liveable." New Zealand has hired its own cleaners to prepare for its contingent's arrival.

Hooper denied stating in the past that the Games Village was better than the one used in Beijing for the Olympics. "we were aware of the filth in the Village on September 15," Hooper said, emphasizing that he went public with details of the unhygienic conditions only after assurances on cleaning up the village were not met. Toilets were found choked with human refuse. One bed had been soiled by a dog.

Hooper also trained his guns on the Indian Sports Minister, MS Gill., describing his "monsoon wedding" re-mark as unacceptable. He said, " There is a reason why the Games are awarded seven years earlier and that is because there is a huge amount of work to do. The Minister of Sport talks about the monsoon wedding approach. That is unacceptable. The reality is, the venues did not start on time. Had they started earlier, we wouldn't be in half the predicament we've seen in recent months." In July, Gill had said, "Commonwealth Games is like an Indian monsoon wedding. Everything is being done at the last minute."

The yawning gap between concept and execution

Now that the commonwealth games are less than a fortnight away and the monsoons showing no signs of abating, the preparations are really going down to the wires. Honestly, I am more than a little confused about whether to support the games or not. At one level, I have started feeling bad for the organisers.

The rains have been so relentless that even those who are well-intentioned and want to do a genuinely good job are frustrated. Also, most of us don't want to be embarrassed. But then, I tell myself that some of these jokers, which basically means the top guys in the organising committee and the civic administration and their political masters, have had 7 years to get things ready, and delayed things deliberately to create panic so that no question asked funds are released. So they deserve no mercy.

And then again, the thought creeps up. Why should the nation be embarrassed for the folly of these individuals, especially when we know that those responsible for the mess are thick-skinned?

The Prime Minister and his boss, Sonia Gandhi, have promised that the guilty will 'not be spared' once the games are over. But do you really believe that one bit? I can almost envision the games being projected as a grand success and in the ensuing euphoria, all would be forgotten, including the fact that what should have cost X has cost us 20 X and that the quality has been shockingly sub-standard, the excessive makeup and magical illumination of games venues notwithstanding. Of course, those responsible would move on and perhaps even bid for the Olympics to build on the hugely successful commonwealth games.

While all such issues, be it quality, games a success or not, who's guilty and who's not, etc will be discussed thread-bare for times to come, I have a few very basic observations, borne mostly out of my walking and cycling trips all around the city these past few days. I am sharing a few of them very briefly with the intention of getting feedback from you all.

If you are in the car, the newly laid stones on the sidewalks around Delhi look beautiful. But looks can be deceptive. Step out of the car to know what the reality is. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I say one can't walk more than 20 steps before encountering some obstacle. It could be in the form of a broken tile, a missing tile, the stump of a discarded light pole, a sudden depression that has been plastered over, or a sudden change in level. If the intention was to provide walkways that care for the pedestrian, it has fallen flat. And the experience is uniform, whether it is VVIP areas or areas around the event venues. Even the tactile tiles, that have ostensibly been put to help the blind, as is done in the developed world, have been done without a thought. You could end up in a bush or in a pile of debris.

Also, in an attempt to make the sidewalks more disabled-friendly, ramps have been built. But like a lot else, it seems to have been done just because they were asked to build a ramp. No thought has gone behind why it needs to be built in a particular way so that it actually helps those in need. There is no uniformity in the gradient or the access points and that is just part of the problem.

Another heartening feature visible, if you are moving around in cars, is the cycle lanes being created at a number of places.

Little excites me as much as this, for I genuinely believe a bicycle is ideal for travelling short distances. But like the sidewalks, their execution leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. The lane's width can switch from a few feet to a few inches, and worse, it can often lead to a dead end or into a tree.

Basically what is happening is that all these are being done just because some worthies thought all this is needed in an international city, without a clue as to how it is to be executed. There is science behind tactile tiles, or the angle at which disabled-friendly ramps are to be built, for example, but it'd be churlish to expect that anyone is even aware of these aspects. It hurts.

It really hurts. How we are being milked can be gauged from the fact that most of those involved in the implementation of these projects have spent a considerable amount of taxpayers' money on overseas study tours to learn the implementation of such projects. In the absence of any feedback or accountability, one just ends up spending a lot of money with almost zero benefits.

Just some training and awareness could have resulted in the creation of civic facilities that Delhi perhaps deserves as the capital of a growing economic power.

But instead, we are creating infrastructure that is neither here nor there. In fact, if one were to sincerely follow the signage put up all over, one could actually get into a spot of bother.

A number of our readers, I am sure, are aware of what is being done and have an opinion on how it should be done. They would have travelled the world too. Would appreciate your feedback and suggestions and put them together to be shared with the authorities. I can only hope this will somehow help in future. It is easy to give up and live with the rot, but then that is taking the easy way out and we don't want that.

(Indian Press reporting on CWG mess, by Rajesh Kalra courtesy TOI)

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