The Capital is set to undergo a complete makeover by next year when the Commonwealth Games come to town. It got a plan allocation of Rs 2,435 crore in the Union Budget. Express Estates conducts a roundtable discussion on whether the Capital will be prepared with international infrastructure before the Games and whether the allocated Budget is adequate
Santhosh Kumar,CEO – Operations,Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj:
In the limited time left for the Games,the question at this stage is not so much how much additional funds are available,but how many projects can actually be launched and completed in time. The fact is that the entire city depends on the successful handling of this event. In terms of real estate,there are a lot of hopes riding on the boost that the Games will give the sector. However,a lot more than mere property potential hinges on them. Given the facts that the Government is aware of Delhi’s level of economic dependency on the Commonwealth Games and that conformity to the infrastructural parameters laid out by the Games planning committee is mandatory,one can assume that everything is being done to have the Games Village ready in time. Finally,however,all depends on the level of commitment adopted and the extent of implementation exercised in the relevant quarters. What can be said beyond a shadow of doubt is that the city’s inability to deliver on this would spell a serious setback for the real estate sector in the Delhi region.
Priya Paul,chairperson,Hotel Association of India (HAI)
Delhi is expecting 100,000 visitors for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in October 2010. In so far as the hospitality infrastructure is concerned,the additional demand for hotel rooms for the Games is estimated to be 30,000 rooms. This demand is to be met through various initiatives taken by the Government. Incentives for hotel projects that would see completion and become operational before the Games in the NCR region were provided in the Union Budget 2007/08. Hotel Sites were identified for auction by various land authorities namely DDA,NOIDA and Greater Noida. About 39 hotel projects with a capacity of over 6000 rooms are in various stages of completion. DDA also increased the FAR for hotels from 225 to 250 to enable existing hotels to add capacity.
With an eye on the accommodation requirement for the Games,The Ministry of Tourism has floated a Bed and Breakfast Scheme under which it has inspected and recognized several guest houses in the city. In a recent decision,more than 5000 DDA flats are being readied to receive the visitors to the Games. These would compare to accommodation in a 3 star category hotel. There is also a plan to put up deluxe tented accommodation to meet the gaps in demand and supply. All major hotels in the NCR are in the process of upgrading facilities to showcase the best in Hospitality to the visitors to the Games and are in the process of signing a Memorandum of Understanding for the provision of rooms with the organising committee. The Games are a matter of national pride and honour and India and Delhi will surely put its best foot forward as has been done in the past for similar events.
Vijai Pande,president,Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI)
There is shortage of rooms that can not be fulfilled due to insufficient time. In fact,all international events should be organised with active participation of Public Sector on PPP model. Budget allocations are only for Delhi-NCR Region for Commonwealth Games. Tourists,who will visit during CWG-2010,would also like to visit other states of the country to see heritage and culture. Delhi will not be only destination; hence,the government should extend its ambit across the country for overall growth of the hospitality industry.
Sheila Dikshit,chief minister,Delhi
I dont think there is any shortage of funds. The Budget has taken Commonwealth Games in full consideration. The funding is not a problem as there has been an increase in the Central Plan Assistance and JNNURM funding for the projects. Well meet all our deadlines and the Capital will be ready with world-class infrastructure before the Games.
SM Shervani,MD,Shervani Hospitalities
I feel by including the guest houses that already exist,we would be including them in the room inventory and therefore can concentrate in spending on roads,flyovers and other infrastructure development and let rooms be taken care of by private spending.
Delhi,being the gateway of tourists to India and also a destination of Commonwealth Games,has a predicted shortage of 30,000 hotel rooms and while everybody keeps on talking about this shortage guest houses that have existed in Delhi for last 25 years are not bought into the main stream as they are yet not recognised as a part of the hotel industry. Though the ministry approves guest houses,many of them are not coming forward for approval as they do not get any tangible benefits from being approved. My contention is that if guest houses are also offered the same benefits as those given to 1,2,3 star hotels there will be large number of them that will come forward to be a part of the hospitality mainstream and add to the existing rooms. Therefore,mechanism should be found to give them project approvals.
These rooms should be brought into the mainstream because this is the quickest way of meeting room shortfall in Delhi.
Navin M Raheja,MD,Raheja Builders
The budget allotted for the Commonwealth Games is not sufficient for the makeover of the city. However,it can be possible if the government adopts the public private partnership (PPP) model. The PPP shall be designed in such a way that the initial capital or upfront payment must be nominal as cash flow of many of the infrastructure companies is not so good,at present. Hence,this budget allocation will be sufficient only when the private parties are involved on BOT basis.
Based on the current status,it looks little difficult that the international infrastructure will be ready before the Games. But,I believe,it may be possible when government involve the private parties largely. It is evident globally that the infrastructure in any city has high standards only when PPP model have played a major role. Delhi Metro is the best example of that.