Friday, 9 October 2009

Commonwealth Games = No Cars + Free ride?

The issue of providing transport for spectators to the 2010 Commonwealth Games venues is getting knotty. While Delhi Police has suggested banning the use of private vehicles during the event, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee has requested for free services by public transport agencies like the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Delhi Metro (Video: Delhi Metro).

Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta has convened a high-level meeting with all stakeholders — including the DTC, Delhi Metro (Watch Video here), Transport Department, Organising Committee and Finance Department — to resolve the issue on Monday.

Sources in the Government disclosed that Delhi Police has suggested imposition of restrictions on private vehicles in view of problems related to security, traffic and parking. “The spectators should use public transport to reach the venues,” a note by the Delhi Police suggests. Maintaining free flow of vehicles and parking are the main problems facing the traffic police since there clearly aren't enough parking spots available. Also, more the number of vehicles, more personnel would be needed to manage the traffic.

With over 60 lakh vehicles jostling for space every day on the Capital’s congested roads, ensuring free flow of traffic during the sporting extravaganza can prove to be an uphill task. The traffic police has drawn up a comprehensive plan, mapping out the movement of each category of city residents, to ensure there are no bottlenecks.

As per the plan, several roads leading up to important venues like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held; and Games Village will be cordoned off for all traffic. Only labelled vehicles will be allowed to use these roads and the traffic police is drawing up alternative routes for general traffic. Traffic movement will also be restricted in busy areas around the venues. For instance, those working at CGO Complex (near Nehru Stadium) will have to take either the Metro or park their vehicles at Lodhi Road and avail the park-and-ride service. All vehicles on Delhi’s roads have been divided into three categories - normal traffic, Games traffic and VVIP movement.

Meanwhile, DTC has opposed the organising committee suggestion of providing free services for spectators. “If DTC provides free services, it will incur a loss of over Rs 20 crore. Its financial condition is not very sound to bear such losses,” said sources. The events would be held at over a dozen stadia across the city.

According to sources, the organising committee doesn’t seem keen to support DTC financially. Sources said DTC has agreed to provide a 20 per cent concession on tickets and the Delhi Metro has flatly refused free ridership. The DTC would provide 554 buses with a wheelchair and 20 buses with four wheelchairs, as requested by the organising committee.


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