Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 will Go on with Criticism- [Picture]

Hosting the Commonwealth Games was supposed to be a badge of honour for India’s ruling elite—a chance for the new superpower to shake off unhelpful images of “slumdogs” and replace them with “world class” stadiums. India is shining they said—hoping that for a couple of weeks we can forget about the 830 million who live on less than 30 pence a day. But it seems that facts are stubborn things and, as in so many countries where these mega sporting events occur, the games have become a poisoned chalice.

Collapsing bridges and pictures of half-built apartment blocks being patched up by gangs of child labourers have become their enduring symbol.Of course, the British media were only too happy to embellish the story, playing on racist stereotypes of an incompetent, dirty nation. They behaved as if the cream of British athletes were going to be forced into the most insanitary living quarters since soldiers of the Raj were pushed into the Black Hole of Calcutta. The criticisms came after it was found that some toilets in the British dorms wouldn’t flush properly and a cat had left paw marks on a bed.

Contrast this to the reality of life for the majority living in India. According to the Asian Development Bank, some 650 million Indians have no access to a proper toilet. Every day they are forced to shit in open sewers. But their problems are not our concern. And now the story has moved on. “Security”, or lack of it, is the new fear. But here the authorities do have a plan. There are now 150,000 armed soldiers parading around New Delhi—more than the number of combat troops in Afghanistan. This week, in a bid to reassure the fearful, the air force flew sorties over the city. This is desperate stuff from a ruling class anxious to project itself onto the winners’ podium. So far, however, their only medal is for self-promotion.[source]

Corruption allegations and delays in construction of venues and infrastructure have dogged the
Commonwealth Games, which will take place Oct. 3-14 in New Delhi

A woman labourer balances a pile of bricks on her head outside the main Commonwealth Games 
stadium while her child plays.

An Indian woman waits at a bus-stop adorned with an advertisement for the forthcoming
Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Aug. 29, 2010.
Cranes remove debris from a collapsed footbridge at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the main
Games arena for India’s Commonwealth Games. Yesterday’s accident is just one of a number of
calamities - from gun attacks to dengue fever outbreaks - to hit the Games, which are due to start in a fortnight.

Indian security personnel and soldiers stand guard outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium 
in New Delhi. Part of the stadium’s roof caved in on Wednesday, a day after a footbridge fell apart. 
Several top athletes have now announced that they are pulling out of the Games .
Workers dismantle the collapsed footbridge at the Jawaharlal Stadium. At least 23 people were injured when the steel structure came apart.

Council workers fumigate the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village, as a precaution against 
dengue fever. The disease, which is carried by mosquitoes, has been particularly severe this year 
thanks to a prolonged monsoon season. The village, still-incomplete, was condemned yesterday 
as "unfit for human habitation".

Police officials use a water cannon to disperse activists from India’s main opposition group, the
Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), during a demonstration in New Delhi in early August. Protest groups
have accused Games organisers of corruption – leading to shoddy construction.

Workers struggle to move paving stones in the mud at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, which is to 
stage boxing events, in early September. At the time, Games organisers claimed that all venues would 
still be ready for the opening ceremony on October 3, despite torrential monsoon rains which were 
hampering construction.

Work continues on infrastructure and roads which are supposed to be used during the Commonwealth
Games on September 6 – less than a month before the opening ceremony.

An Indian elephant grazes on the banks of the Yamuna River in New Delhi. Earlier this year
dozens of elephants were evicted from the river’s banks to make way for roads and other
infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games.


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