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The year 2010 has been a watershed year in Delhi’s history and the main reason for this is the city successfully hosting one of the best ever Commonwealth Games. These Games have left an indelible mark on “Saddi Dilli”. All the infrastructural development which had been carried out for the Games has ultimately ended up benefiting us, the residents of Delhi.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games was the largest international multi-sport event to be staged in Delhi and India, eclipsing the Asian Games in 1951 and 1982. The organisation of CWG 2010 was beset by delays. Several concerns were raised over the preparations of the Games and these included excessive budget overruns, poor living conditions at the Commonwealth Games Village, delays in construction of the main Games’ venues and widespread corruption by officials of the Games’ Organising Committee. But despite all the delays, infrastructural debacles (falling foot bridges, leaking roofs, falling scoreboards etc.), withdrawal of prominent athletes, embarrassing visuals (of bathrooms with brown-coloured paan stains on the walls and floor, and brown paw prints on athletes’ beds) and ridiculous statements (Mr. Lalit Bhanot rejecting the complaint of poor sanitation in the Games Village by saying that, due to cultural differences, there are different standards about cleanliness in India and the western world), the Games were conducted successfully and have ended up transforming our city’s landscape. The world class stadia that have been built for the Games will now provide the infrastructure that young budding sportsmen in the city require to compete on the international stage. In addition these stadia have now become tourist attractions, particularly the spectacular Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The city also got a “facelift” in various other departments owing to the Commonwealth Games. The various venues along the cycling event route were fenced and cleaned beyond recognition (case in point being CP). The metro network was expanded to South Delhi and Noida and two additional lines, the violet line (Central Secretariat – Sarita Vihar) and the green line (Mundka – Inderlok) were inaugurated. The superfast Delhi Airport Metro Express line, connecting the IGI airport to the city’s shopping hub CP, will start within the next fortnight. The Indira Gandhi International Airport has itself been modernised, expanded and upgraded. The new and swanky Terminal 3, the World’s eighth largest passenger terminal, has improved airport passenger capacity to more than 37 million passengers a year. A new runway has also been constructed, allowing for more than 75 flights an hour. The airport has been connected to the city via a six-lane expressway (Delhi–Gurgaon Expressway).
The red AC DTC buses used for ferrying athletes and officials during the Games have now been added to the public transport system. A number of non AC green DTC buses have also brought on to the roads to counteract the void created by the absence of the blue line buses. These “killer” blue line buses, in accordance with the Government’s decision, have now been taken off the roads (though some buses still ply on certain routes). These improvements in the road network (both in terms of quality and quantity) and in general, transportation across the city has probably been the biggest reward of the Commonwealth Games for the ordinary citizen of Delhi.
This year was the year in which Delhi (and India) announced its arrival on the World stage and opened its doors to the entire World. Delhi has undergone radical changes in 2010 and now it is upon us, the residents of Delhi, to maintain the city as beautiful as it was during its “golden hour”, the Commonwealth Games.