Latest Games headache: The missing volunteers

People are quitting the Commonwealth Games volunteer programme in hordes. In fact,80 per cent of those interviewed for the programme are no longer part of it.

Written by Sobhana K | Mumbai | Published: August 20, 2010 2:07:33 am

People are quitting the Commonwealth Games volunteer programme in hordes. In fact,80 per cent of those interviewed for the programme are no longer part of it.

In all,30,751 people were shortlisted as volunteers and asked to fill police verification forms. However,only 19,724 turned up for training,among them many fresh faces who had not filled up the forms. So,with just 44 days to go for the Games,only 4,252 volunteers have undergone specific training. Of this,just 1,591 volunteers could get accreditation cards.

The Delhi Police is clear that nobody will get access to the stadiums without the accreditation cards. “Under no circumstance will we allow any person inside the premises without a valid card,which will be given only after police verification,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.

This high attrition rate is being blamed on the lack of communication between the Organising Committee and the volunteers. Sources said that though the OC got about one lakh letterheads printed just to be sent to the volunteers,not a single line was written to them. Many were informed over the phone or sent SMSes.

“In January,the OC came to our college and we all filled the required forms. But for the next two months there was a complete silence. We were then told to appear for an interview at short notice. I cleared the interview,but nobody has contacted me since,” said Bhanushali,a first-year student of Daulat Ram college.

The volunteers are pivotal for the Games to be successful. “The OC has just 2,000 paid staff,the rest of the work during the fortnight has to be carried out by the volunteers,” said a senior official.

In a massive exercise last year,the OC tried to rope in volunteers through ads on its website and by approaching several educational institutions and groups. The OC conducted interviews in January and March,but the training process was delayed and started only by July.

Training process
Stage 1:
General training given to all volunteers who have been cleared after interview.

Stage 2: Training for specific roles like gate management,spectator service and so on.

Stage 3: Training at the venues,where volunteers are familiarised about the facility.

Stage 4: Training about the events.

Stage 5: The best volunteers are selected for leadership training to lead others and coordinate work.

Trouble spots
Metro tickets:
No one knows who will foot the bill for transporting the volunteers. “We had asked them to give tickets for a month from September 15,” said a senior OC official. However,the DMRC claims it does not have a policy of ‘free travel’. “Nothing has been finalised and we are still discussing who will pay for the tickets of the volunteers,” said DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal.

Food packets: The Union government had sanctioned Rs 16.30 crore for providing food for the volunteers for 30 days. Though this translates to Rs 250 per day,the OC is looking for something cheaper like cold food.

Synthetic uniforms: The volunteers will be given two pairs of uniforms,which they have to wear for a month. The uniform being supplied by Reebok is 100 per cent synthetic. The uniform distribution was not yet started.

Catering: 100
Games Village: 900
Doping control: 850
Spectator service: 3,000
Security: 4,000
Transport: 3,000
Gate Management: 1,000
Tourism Protocol Team: 1,600
Sports Specific: 1,250
City Operations: 5,800

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