1. India is equipped to tackle any emergencies: Tourism Minister
Chandigarh, May 17 (IANS) India 's Tourism Minister Kumari Selja Monday said security threats are unlikely to deter foreign or domestic tourists from visiting New Delhi during the Commonwealth Games in October.
Claiming that not just India but many other countries face terror threat, she said: "We are expecting both foreign and domestic tourists to come to New Delhi during the Games. We do not think any terror threat can deter them from arriving."
" India is equipped to tackle any emergency situation. We will make world-class security arrangements during the Games and there is no need to worry," she said.
"Preparations for the Games are in full swing. We are expecting to offer world-class facilities to players, officials and spectators coming here," said Selja said.
The minister said the government is also providing formal training to service providers like taxi drivers and restaurant workers in New Delhi who are expected to come in direct contact with thousands of tourists.
"We are training our manpower to deal with the tourists efficiently. Taxi drivers, autorickshaw drivers, other service providers and workers of some restaurants and hotels are being given training in soft skills.
"We are teaching them some frequently used English words and how to express everything with courtesy, before others," said Selja.
Business/Business/Economy/Commonwealth Games 2010
2. Hong Kong firm landscaping, beautifying Delhi 's newest airport terminal
By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi , May 10 (IANS)
If you drive to or from the soon-to-be-opened Terminal-3 (T-3) of the international airport here, you are bound to notice the sidewalks and causeways fast sprouting with exotic flowers, palms, manicured shrubs and lush lawns.
A Hong Kong landscaping architecture firm is beautifying the surroundings around Delhi 's newest terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport , billed as one of the largest in the world, ahead of the October Commonwealth Games in October.
Exotic varieties of orchids from Thailand and Dioon Spinosa palms imported from Mexico will be among the key highlights of the landscaping initiative, according to officials at Delhi International Airport Ltd, which is carrying out the new development.
EDAW, the Hong Kong-based firm, is working with Beyond Built of Bangalore for delivering the project from concept to commissioning in the landscaping project, which is spread over 70 acres outside the terminal and 10,000 sq mt inside the building.
As many as 39 varieties of trees, 26 kinds of plants, 39 types of ground covers and six types of cacti and succulents will blend with 30,000 sq mt of lush green lawns along the terminal and its causeways.
"The idea is to create an environment that makes passengers feel good before or after a travel," a senior official of DIAL told IANS, speaking on the condition of anonymity as per his company rules.
"We have planned nearly one million trees for the project, both inside and outside the terminal building. We are using nearly 300 varieties of plants that grow fast and are easy to maintain," the official said but declined to share the financial details.
The T-3 landscaping initiative also includes new systems for irrigation, water-feature works, energy-saving lighting, planters and works for vertical green walls. The total area involved is 5.2 million sq ft.
Soft landscaping inside the terminal will feature 1,000 granite clad planters, 800 self-watering planters from Germany and 850 low-height modular fiberglass reinforced planters that will act like "green lungs" and give a tropical look and feel inside the terminal.
The terminal will cater to both domestic and international flights while providing the travellers and visitors the comforts that come with state-of-the-art technology, a wide spectrum of infrastructure for transforming the airport experience in India .
T-3, the first phase of which is slated for July, will have 90 automated walkways, 63 elevators, 31 escalators and 78 aerobridges. It will also feature multi-level car park for 4,300 vehicles and a high-speed dedicated Metro link to the city centre.
According to DIAL, a plant nursery spread over 6.75 acres has also been developed to maintain more than 10,000 plants. The nursery will have the facility of a cold house, a green shade house and an open ventilated shade house.
3. UN praise for India 's pollution monitoring system for Commonwealth Games
By Richa Sharma
New Delhi , May 9 (IANS)
A pollution monitoring system developed by Indian scientists has come in for praise from the United Nations as an important step to ensure clean air during the Commonwealth Games.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a specialised agency of the UN, said the System of Air Pollution Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) will serve as an example within India , South Asia and globally.
Aimed at managing air quality, it has been developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.
"The WMO recognises SAFAR as a very important activity in the region and will make all efforts to get international visibility for the project," L. Jalkanen, head of the WMO's Atmospheric Environment Research Division, wrote in a letter to SAFAR project director Gurfan Beig in March.
The UN recognition holds significance as some athletes have hinted at skipping the Games, as they fear that Delhi 's air is unsafe to breathe.
Scientists at IITM are elated and confident that the system will help in ensuring clean air during the Games, dubbed as the first ever Green Games.
"SAFAR will make India one of the few countries to take a big leap in environmental research," Beig told IANS.
"The system will tell us the quality of air at a given moment and also what it will be 24 hours later, thus alerting people and helping them avoid immediate exposure to unhealthy air."
SAFAR will provide information on air quality on an hourly basis and forecast pollution levels 24 hours in advance through wireless colour digital display panels located at 11 key points in the city during the Games.
"On any day, if the pollution level is high, the Delhi government might order closing of shops or reducing traffic flow," Indian Meteorological Department director Ajit Tyagi told IANS.
Only a few developed countries have the technical knowhow to use such a system. It was used during the Olympic Games in Beijing and also at the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne .
The Indian capital is among the most polluted cities in the world. Its major problem is an ever-growing number of cars, three- and two- wheelers, which occupy a staggering 75 percent of the road space, although only 20 percent of the commuting public use them.
Delhi has over five million vehicles and another one million come to the metropolis from towns in the national capital region in adjoining states.
China had a tough time battling air pollution during the Olympic Games last year and there are doubts whether Delhi can be as effective as Beijing in enforcing traffic curbs, raising emission standards and stopping Games' construction work well in time to improve air quality.
SAFAR will provide air quality levels in a four-kilometre stretch around the Games village and other major venues. Instruments like ozone and carbon monoxide analysers and real time analysers for various other pollutants would be used for collecting the data.
The system will provide details about oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, black carbon and benzene present in Delhi air.
"Exposure to the pollutants will affect human health, increased respiratory symptoms, heart and lung diseases, allergies being some of them," said Beig.
SAFAR's inputs will greatly help in identifying the major sources of air pollutants and recommending measures to help improve the air quality.
Delhi Police to get mini robot to tackle terror threat
New Delhi , May 6 (IANS)
Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Police is set to buy a mini remote-operating vehicle (MROV) that can detect and defuse bombs and explosives, an official said Thursday.
Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said: "We had a technical evaluation of the MROV (Wednesday). This is the first step in the procurement process.
"Bidding for the price is yet to be done. We are hoping to get it before the Commonwealth Games," he added.
Manufactured in Canada , the primary function of the MROV is to detect and disarm hidden bombs and explosives. The robot, which weighs 65 kg, can be controlled by a remote within a radius of 500 metres. It can drag weights of up to 113 kg.
The MROV has arms and shoulders and also four night-vision cameras. It is weather-proof but not fire resistant.
It can operate underwater and over rough terrain, moving at a maximum speed of 8 kmph and a minimum of speed of 3 kmph.
Joint Commissioner (north) Karnal Singh said: "Although the device is designed in Canada , it is suitable in the Indian scenario, particularly in the national capital where it will be able to help in bomb scare situations."
Nearly 4,000 tourist guides to be employed for CWG
New Delhi , May 4 (IANS)
Nearly 4,000 regional tourist guides would be employed keeping in mind the expected rise in demand during the Commonwealth Games in October, a tourism ministry official said Tuesday.
The guides will be distributed in five regions across the country - northern, southern, eastern, western and northeastern - and will be given licences under the tourism ministry's scheme of Regional Level Guides.
"The number of Regional Level Guides until 2007 was 1,930 of which 1,154 were in the northern region alone. Thereafter, 602 such guides have been trained during 2009-10 by the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM), Gwalior ," the official said.
"In addition to this, there will be 1,400 foreign language guides. Thus the total number of guides available before the Games will be 3,932," he added.
Ornamental plants to beautify Delhi for Games
New Delhi , May 3 (IANS)
Delhi will be beautified with at least six million ornamental potted plants for the upcoming Commonwealth Games this year, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said Monday.
"Six million ornamental potted plants are being arranged for beautification of Delhi and various sporting venues for the Commonwealth Games 2010," Ramesh informed the Rajya Sabha.
"The Delhi Forests and Wildlife Department, the Delhi Parks and Garden Society, the Public Works Department (PWD) and other civic agencies are arranging the plants," he added.
The Commonwealth Games are slated to be held Oct 3-14 this year.
Besides these, there will also be plantations on roadsides, roundabouts and other vacant areas for the mega sports event, the minister added.