The spotlight is on,positions have been called and the Commonwealth Games year is here with its gifts. The top ten.
Besides international recognition,the 2010 Commonwealth Games will also benefit New Delhi in other ways. Upgraded infrastructure,better connectivity and sports facilities are just three of them.
Besides the plush 1,168 flats at the Commonwealth Games Village in East Delhi which will house the athletes and other CWG officials,the Delhi Development Authority is also developing another 5,000 flats in Vasant Kunj,Dwarka and Jasola to meet accommodation requirements for the Games. Furnished by the Indian Tourism Development Corporation at par with three star hotels these flats will be sold to the public once the Games are over.
The Games plan of the government also entails new low-cost houses. Earlier in 2009,Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had announced that around 40,000 new low-cost housing units will be built in areas like Narela,Bhorgarh,Karala and Kanjhawala to overcome the shortage of residential accommodation.
The 2010 Games will offer Delhi a chance to move on from its established genre of prop art and reclaim urban spaces for displaying more interactive forms of art. The Delhi Urban Arts Commission is to utilise the space being offered by various Games projects to install new forms of public art.
If all goes according to plan,Delhi may soon have art installations celebrating the citys diversity and the common mans life and memories. Works of famous poets may adorn the facades of public buildings and bus stops in different languages.
A cartographic exhibition,which will recount the history of the city and its people through maps,will also be organised in September 2010.
The CWG Organising Committee Chairperson Suresh Kalmadi has said once the Games are over,the renovated stadiums will be utilised to provide advanced sporting facilities for the youth. Assuring that the Games legacy will not meet the fate of 1982 Asian Games,Kalmadi has expressed confidence that the Games will help promote sports,especially among schoolchildren. The Sports Authority of India,which owns five of the 13 stadiums,meanwhile,has shortlisted a Gurgaon-based infrastructure services firm to help draw a legacy plan for SAI to generate revenues from the venues once the Games are over. The OC,however,has said its topmost priority is to offer sports facilities to sportspersons and the youth. The remaining space will be used for commercial purposes,it said.
Asias largest court complex
Capitals houses of law will soon have a new look as the ultra-modern court complex,coming up at Saket,South Delhi,nears completion. Touted as Asias largest court complex,the officials are contemplating inaugurating the complex by the first week of February.
The main court building has three seven-storey interconnected towers that will accommodate 80 courts. Apart from the three court blocks,it has others towers with chambers for the lawyers,an utility block that would house the canteen,bank,post office and other service-providing centres,along with a residential block for the judges. The complex will only be the second in Delhi,after Karkardooma Complex,to have a residential block for judges. While 128 judges chambers have been constructed,there are 700 chambers for the lawyers,which will be allotted after an approval from the Delhi High Court and the Building and Maintenance Committee.
The complex will flaunt central air-conditioning in courts,mechanical ventilation of basement,lifts,complete power back-up,fire alarm system and a closed-circuit television network,among other additions.
Enter a restored,revamped CP
Starting January 1,most traffic will be barred from entering Connaught Place as the shoppers paradise closes to give itself a makeover.
Eight new subways are under-construction here,the Baba Kharak Singh Marg is being beautified and the heritage building is being restored to its original glory of 1933. The New Delhi Municipal Council has already restored the C-Block.
The work is expected to be over before the Commonwealth Games.
Currently,work on at A-Block,E-Block,G-Block and N-Block. The roads around the outer circle are being dug up to lay cables which will ensure the tangle of overhead wires is removed. Old plaster of the facades is being scraped off and fresh lime plaster will be laid to give the building a new look.
Though originally the entire redevelopment project was to be completed before the Commonwealth Games,the civic body has now decided to complete only the facade restoration work before the event, says an NDMC official.
Comfort food,soothing rates On menu
We took out our curries from stained copper bowls and crafted them into artworks on smart ceramic plates. After a risqué 2009,the year 2010 promises to cheer on homegrown café chains and bring in a variety of newer cuisines.
Says food consultant Manu Mohindra: We got plenty of high-browed and high-end restaurants in 2009. In 2010,the new launches will be all about value for money and mid-market restaurants.
At Rs 800 for a meal for two,there will be several offerings and many restaurateurs are keen on replicating popular food hubs like Mahesh Lunch Home of Mumbai and the desi cafe joints of Ahmedabad and Pune in the Delhi market, he adds.
While most restaurateurs are hush-hush about their new year projects,Mohindra assures some of the popular cafes of Delhi will launch more outlets. Restaurateur and food consultant Mmanav Sharmaa predicts there will be more of Vietnamese and Indonesian food on the Delhi platter.
Im hoping to see African cuisine,too,with dishes like Chicken Suiya and Brown Bean Porridge.
Sharmaa adds that comfort food will also be big on the menu,but will be carefully calorie-counted. Toffee sauce is seeing a comeback and old style desserts like cream caramel and bread pudding are being drafted into the restaurant menus.
Click in the new year at DU
Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental,heading into the last eight months of his term,seems to be planning to end his tenure in a blaze of online glory. The university is already in the process of supplying more computers and servers to affiliated colleges and the university website du.ac.in is also being revamped. Faculty members have been asked to fill up forms for detailed online profiles. Add to this,beginning June,all colleges will go Wi-Fi.
The crown,though,may go to the Institute of Life Long Learning web portal,which will be online in two months time.
The portal will feature video lectures by the best-known DU faculty members,animations of experiments in a virtual lab,online quizzes and course material for various DU courses.
As the university upgrades its bandwidth to 1 GBPS from the current 100 MBPS,a major roadblock for the portal streaming of high-quality videos too,will be removed.
Deepu Sebastian Edmond
Delhi can soon be called city of flyovers as the Sheila Dikshit government has sanctioned 24 flyovers in the run up to the Commonwealth Games.
Twelve of these are functional and work on the remaining 12 is underway.
Says K K Sharma,Public Works Department secretary: We are in the process of completing most projects and should be on schedule.
The areas that will get a breather are: Naraina (flyover); Vasant Kunj (Neela Hauz bridge); Dhaula Kuan to Mayapuri (flyover); Apsara border (flyover);
By June,the officials expect to complete the elevated road over the Barapullah Nullah connecting the Commonwealth Games village to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
For the Ring Road bypass,the deadline is July. The UP Link road,meanwhile,is expected to be completed by May.
Hold your breath for Games ceremonies
With a host of music,film and theatre festivals,and major gigs lined up,the definite not-to-be-missed affair this year will be the Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies.
The year will begin with Pravasi Film Festival which will screen over 30 feature and non-feature films. Bonjour India,the Festival of France in India,meanwhile,will continue till February with some interesting opera and jazz performances lined up in the beginning of the year.
A major performance will be by the four-time Grammy-nominated tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain at Kamani Auditorium. Also,with underground music becoming the new mainstream,the year is expected to be better in terms of non-commercial music.
Traffic cops to tune in with alerts
Soon,expect songs playing on your car radio to be punctuated with traffic update straight from the Traffic Control Unit. To better connect with commuters,the Delhi Traffic Police is eyeing a tie-up with FM radio stations.
Says Special Commissioner (Traffic) Ajay Chadha: We realised that this medium is not being tapped as much as it should be,looking at the amount of possibilities it has.
If all works according to plan,the traffic police will provide information about traffic situation road blocks,jams,diversion,etc to FM stations and have the radio jockeys as their mouthpiece.
While a few radio stations already provide traffic update,the information is mostly based on messages received from listeners across the city.
We think it can serve a great purpose if we give authentic information on bottlenecks,jams and update it periodically. We can also inform people about traffic advisories during events and festivals, Chadha says.
Chadha says they will approach all FM stations with their proposals so that the maximum number of commuters can benefit.
If information is repeated a couple of times on the radio,you will remember it, he adds.
Currently,there are 11 FM stations in the city and most have highest listenership in morning and evening hours,when traffic is highest on roads.
Private players roped in,better healthcare ahead
WITH several public-private partnership (PPP) projects in the pipeline,the coming year will see a change in the delivery of healthcare services in the Capital. From neonatal care to maintenance of diagnostic machines and medical equipment,the private sector will practically be running hospitals for the government.
The idea is to reduce the cost incurred per patient by the government and ensure better delivery of services. We want to break the cliché that government hospitals are inaccessible to patients, Kiran Walia,Delhi Health Minister,says.
In the next few months,Delhi governments health department will roll out several PPP projects. A new emergency medical care call centre 102 will be launched on January 14.
The state government has also partnered with Fortis Hospital to run 150 fully-equipped ambulances for the government and charge on a per patient basis. We hope to ensure that accident victims get to hospitals within the proverbial golden hour, J P Singh,Principal Health Secretary,says. The ambulances will be rolled out on January 14.
Another model of PPPs will focus on the maintenance of machines in the hospitals.
The government is also coming up with two super specialty hospitals in Janakpuri and Tahirpur that will be run by private players.
The government also plans to privatise neonatal care to improve infant mortality rate in Delhi.
Games may miss smart traffic system
The tech-smart project of the Delhi Traffic Police,the Intelligent Traffic Management System,may miss its ready-by-Games promise,but officials hope to get things moving by the end of the year.
Relying heavily on automatic sensors,video detectors,loop detectors and radar detectors to control traffic,the system proposes to be a multi-layered traffic handling process.
The detailed project report for the system,prepared by RITES and their German consultant,has just been completed. The Traffic Police are now busy preparing tenders for the system.
Joint Commissioner (Traffic) S N Shrivastava,says,Within a week the tender documents for the project will be floated
The detectors will help to control traffic dynamically. Video detectors will visually assess the load of vehicles. The loop detectors are put under the surface of the road and control the signals according to the weight that falls on it. The radar detector will work on the sound of vehicles.