Non-governmental organisation Hazards Centre on Wednesday released a study titled “Heritage games: Cleaning up the debris” that tries to understand the enormous financial and socio-environmental impact of the Commonwealth Games on Delhi.
The report looks at whether the city is set for the Games in terms of transportation, accommodation, health facilities, water, waste management, power and beautification of Delhi. It also speaks about the cost of the Games and how the State Government plans to generate revenue besides other issues.
“Our report looks at the total cost of the Games and what happens after they are over in terms of the debt that the city will have to pay off and the social and environmental impact the event will have on the city. The Games have seen an investment of crores of rupees which the city will eventually have to pay for in one way or the other. Big games also have an impact on the middle classes as the price of land, housing and rents shoot up sharply during and after the event. The average living cost increases and the jobs are created for only a very short duration of time. This is what we will see during these Games too,” said Dunu Roy of the Hazards Centre.
Stating that this diversion of funds for the Games has to be understood in terms of what the city dwellers are getting in return, Mr. Roy added: “In the city, 12 per cent of commuters use private motorised transport, slum dwellers do not have access to affordable housing and are routinely evicted to free the valuable land on which they are squatting, decent drinking water is not available to 70 per cent of the citizens, and informal sector workers are continuously insecure. For the Government to divert a nvestment of over Rs. 55,000 crore into renewing the city in the name of Games and another Rs. 46,000 crore into infrastructure is not right.”
The report also notes that because of the Games the beggars and homeless are being displaced and for beautifying the city working poor people are being evicted from homes and work places. “Because of the pressure to complete the works no labour laws and safety measures are being followed. The Games are also starting to have an impact on the middle class as cost of living has gone up. The proportion of new jobs created is only a fraction of what has been lost,” noted the reported.
Mr. Roy also pointed out to the huge environmental impact the Games will have on the city. “The Games have transformed the banks of the Yamuna into a commercial and recreational development for tourists, along with the construction on a 40 hectare site of the Games Village. This is a prelude to river front development in collusion with private developers. As predicted the big gains from the Games are accruing to business groups in real estate, hotels, tourism, hospitality and transportation.”
Keywords: Commonwealth Games