Delhi has a rich history because in the past it has been ruled by some of the most powerful kings. The city’s history began with the creation of Indraprastha by the Panadavas. It has been said that this place was nothing more than a barren land, and it was turned into an excellent city by the Panadavas. As many other kings came into power, there was creation of some other cities like “Lal Kot, Siri, Dinpanah, Quila Rai Pithora, Ferozabad, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad and Shahjahanabad. Over a period of time, these cities merged into one city, which came to be known as Delhi (Delhi City Guide, 2005, p.10).” Back then, the city became famous for overthrowing the rulers, who ruled it. After the Mughals rule ended, the Britishers started ruling the city. Edwin Lutyens, a famous Britisher was responsible for creating a new majestic city in 1911, which later came to be known as New Delhi (Singh, 2010, p. 4). Subsequently, the Britishers shifted their capital from Calcutta to New Delhi. It was made the centre of Government of India, after India got its Independence in 1947, and till date it serves as the Centre of Government. Over a period of years, the city has seen good economic growth. Taking advantage of this, many multinational corporations have set up their call centres in New Delhi and its neighbouring areas. This has transformed the city into a global city (u of t book source). Today, the “soaring skyscrapers, posh residential colonies and bustling commercial complexes add to the city’s metropolitan characteristic (Delhi City Guide, 2005, p.10).”
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The first and foremost thing that the games have done is helped New Delhi develop; improve its sports and urban infrastructure. In preparation for the games, New Delhi had to ensure that the facilities for the visiting athletes were state of the art. Keeping this in mind, many of the existing sport venues were renovated and some were newly built. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, was completely renovated to ensure world class facilities were there for the games. After renovation, the stadium was covered with a roof top and its seating capacity was increased to 78000 people (DelhiCommonwealth, 2010). The Indira Gandhi Stadium, which hosted wrestling and cycling games, was equipped with costly HD (high definition) screens so that the people around the world can follow the action in high definition. The Thyagaraj Sports Complex was the newly constructed stadium for the Netball games, with a seating capacity of around 5000 people (DelhiCommonwealth, 2010). In addition to the sports infrastructure, transportation infrastructure also improved significantly. Before the games, the traffic jams on the roads and highways, was a common sight and a cause of worry. However, that was solved by building 25 new flyovers, and by widening the existing roads. An underground tunnel was also constructed so that athletes can reach the stadium easily. The tunnel connected the “Athletes Village” (place where the athletes were staying) to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The main roads of the city also underwent major changes. Important roads leading to the airport such as Ring Road, Mehrauli-Mahipalpur and Mehrauli-Badarpur, were given a complete makeover (Uppal, 2009, p. 17). The airport of Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport was revamped, and one of Asia’s longest runway, was also constructed (Malhotra, 2009). Additionally, the metro network of the city was expanded, and it was termed the Phase II construction. Under the Phase II construction, the main areas of Delhi were linked to venues used for CWG games. Furthermore; the historical monuments and ancient buildings of New Delhi were overhauled to give the city an international look. India spent a large amount of money (approx. US$1.6 Billion) on the infrastructure, making this event the most expensive in the history of Commonwealth games (DelhiCommonwealth, 2010). The building of infrastructure for the Commonwealth games have come at a cost of destruction of slums. As Mike Davis (2006) points out in his article Planet of Slums, “The Indian capital offers brutal confirmation that the word ‘infrastructure’ is the new code word for unceremonious clearance of the fragile shelters of the poor” (p. 100). The slums located on the banks of river Yamuna such as Yamuna Pushtha were completely demolished to build the Athletes Village. The work on clearing the slums started in 2004, and lasted until June of 2010 (Housing and land rights network, 2010).
Secondly, the games have helped New Delhi in solving unemployment problems significantly. The plans were “formulated in such a way that more and more employment opportunities were created for jobless people with small capital (Maurya, 1989, p.68).” Around two million jobs were created due to the games in both private as well as public sector. The jobs ranged from “village development staff to support staff, from security to waste management, and from catering to accommodation. Also, the government departments of Delhi like Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC), Delhi Jal Board (DJB), and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRC) started hiring people in large numbers, and contributed vastly in generating employment (Hudson, 2010, p. 5).” Even though the games benefitted most people by offering them employment, some were at the receiving end. The people like street vendors, who worked on the streets, lost their livelihoods as they were totally removed from the streets (Shah, 2010). This was done in order to show a clean image of New Delhi to the world. Moreover, some of the jobs offered to the poor workers who migrated from other states, were only temporary. As soon as the games got over, their jobs were lost and they were left in the lurch (Jackson, 2009).
Thirdly, New Delhi was able to address some of its environmental problems by hosting the ‘green’ Commonwealth games. New Delhi which was not considered clean some time ago is now a much clean and a green city, thanks to the government of Delhi and organizers of CWG. The organizers worked closely with UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and the government of Delhi, to implement various ecological codes, which not only made the games green, but also helped the city in becoming cleaner than before (Sriparna, 2010, p.87). The air pollution was significantly reduced by the introduction of buses that ran on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The CNG being the cleanest of all fuels reduced carbon emissions as well as guaranteed sustainable transportation (Sriparna, 2010, p. 87). The city was also able to reduce its water pollution through the cleaning of river Yamuna. Many sewage treatments plants were built so that the water flowing to river Yamuna could be treated and cleaned beforehand (IANS, 2009). The management of municipal solid waste was a big environmental issue before the games (Hust & Mann, 2005, p. 41). However, the government established number of schemes (Bhagidari being one), which helped the city effectively, regulate the solid waste. Most importantly, India built its first environmental friendly stadium, the Thyagaraj. During the construction of this stadium, all the environmental considerations were kept in mind. The considerations ranged from using eco- friendly fly ash bricks to conserving water through recycling (Sriparna, 2010, p.87). In some scenarios, the environmental concerns were also raised. The chances of city experiencing the floods increased dramatically because of the demolition of floodplains (piece of land controlling floods) of river Yamuna (Sharma, 2010). In addition to this, many trees were cut down (deforestation), which also caused irreparable damage to the environment (Singh, 2008).
Last but not the least; New Delhi’s economy received a major boost due to games as many tourists came to the city. New Delhi received “2 million foreign tourists and 3.5 million tourists from different parts of India (Arzoo, 2010).” The biggest beneficiary of rise in tourism was the hospitality industry. Large numbers of hotels were built in the city to accommodate incoming tourists, and that helped in generating significant amount of revenue, thus contributing vastly to the city’s economy (Awasthi, 2005).
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In conclusion, it can be said that the games left behind their legacy in terms of infrastructure, and also played an important role in generating thousands of jobs. New Delhi will retain its status of global city if it keeps on building and developing the infrastructure. The government has already proposed some of the future projects. The city’s metro, which is now considered to be its lifeline, is set to expand in the coming decades. The Phase III and Phase IV construction projects are planned to be completed by 2025. After the conclusion of Commonwealth games, the tourism industry of New Delhi is set to grow by 5-10% approximately in future. Currently, the economy of New Delhi is booming, and it is predicted that this growth rate will continue in the next few decades (Singh, 2010). On the other hand; the population of national capital is growing day by day, and is expected to touch the 28.6 million mark by 2025 (WUP, 2009). In view of the increasing population, many new vehicles will be introduced. New Delhi is already one of the most polluted cities of India, and with its current patterns of urbanization, the pollution problem will only get worse in future. New Delhi will also see high levels of inflation in future, because with rapid increase in population, the resources will deplete and it will be hard to meet the increasing demands of people.
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