Rodriguez out of Roma-Milan

first_imgRicardo Rodriguez and Giacomo Bonaventura are out of the Milan squad travelling to Roma for tomorrow evening. It kicks off on Sunday at 17.00 GMT, click here for a match preview. New coach Stefano Pioli was held to a 2-2 draw by Lecce on his debut and has some changes to his squad at the Olimpico. Davide Calabria and Samu Castillejo return from suspension, but full-back Rodriguez pulls out with a muscular issue. Also absent is midfielder Bonaventura, who continues treatment and a separate training regime. Milan squad for Roma: A Donnarumma, G Donnarumma, Reina; Calabria, Conti, Duarte, Gabbia, Theo Hernandez, Musacchio, Romagnoli; Bennacer, Biglia, Calhanoglu, Kessie, Krunic, Paqueta; Borini, Castillejo, Leao, Piatek, Rebic, Suso Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

Milan wanted Puel

first_imgThere are reports that Milan’s hierarchy couldn’t agree on who should replace Marco Giampaolo, with Ivan Gazidis wanting Claude Puel.  Giampaolo was sacked after a dismal run of form in which Milan won only three of their opening seven games. Il Giornale reports that Milan CEO Gazidis wanted former Lyon and Southampton manager Claude Puel to take over from Giampaolo. However, the report also states that directors Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban wanted an Italian coach, or at least one who was experienced in Serie A. This led the club to go for Luciano Spalletti, who rejected their advances. Milan then turned to Stefano Pioli, who agreed. This isn’t the first time the three have butted heads, as Gazidis only wanted to sign young players last summer, whilst Boban and Maldini believed that the squad needed some experience, with rumours that a deal for Zlatan Ibrahimovic was nixed by Gazidis. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

Indian skipper Dhoni and wife Sakshi meet Rahul Gandhi

first_imgNewly-married Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the Capital.Dhoni was accompanied by his wife Sakshi and cricketer friend R P Singh during the meeting at 10 Janpath, the official residence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, a top BCCI source said.”The appointment was taken earlier and the meeting was just a courtesy call,” the source said.Asked whether Dhoni also met Sonia Gandhi, the source said, “The appointment was only for meeting Rahul Gandhi.”Dhoni and Sakshi got married in a hush-hush ceremony on Sunday night at a farmhouse near Dehradun after getting engaged on Saturday.The ceremony was a private affair with only close family members and friends in attendance. The media was kept at bay by tight security during the marriage.last_img read more

Ready for CAG or judicial probe: Kalmadi

first_imgCornered by allegations of corruption in the Commonwealth Games’ preparations and isolated within his own party, under-fire Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Wednesday said he is ready to face any CAG or judicial probe into the financial transactions related to the event.”I, as Chairman of the Organising Committee, am prepared to face any scrutiny by (Comptroller and Auditor General) CAG or even a judicial probe for all financial transactions being reported by the media. All the people found guilty will be punished and brought to book,” Kalmadi said in a statement.Kalmadi’s statement came a day after more allegations of irregularities and the Indian High Commission’s e-mails being ‘doctored’ came to light. The Congress party also distanced itself from Pune MP.Kalmadi reiterated that the all transactions were carried out by the full approval of the OC’s various finance committee and he did not have any individual say on these matters.”The financial procedures at the Organising Committee are well laid down and transparent. Any proposal that is prepared by the Functional Area Head first gets vetted by the OC Finance Committee which has two representatives of Government of India, and after that it is referred to Finance Sub-Committee, comprising of three Senior representatives of Government of India,” he explained.”Thereafter, the proposals are submitted to the Executive Board for its final approval. Chairman OC, in his individual capacity, does not have any financial powers,” he added.Kalmadi said, nonetheless, he has taken note of the various reported bunglings. . “60 days are left for the start of XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 to be held in New Delhi and 43 days for Games Village to open when about 8000 athletes and Officials from all continents of the world start arriving to participate in the Games,” Kalmadi said. “During the last week, media has come out with various stories regarding the irregularities in the orders/ procurement etc. of QBR Launch Function at London/Overlays and association of M/S Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM) in obtaining the Sponsorship for the games.advertisement”I have taken a serious note of these reports and appointed a three member committee headed by Mr. Jarnail Singh, the Chief Executive Officer and two members, Mr. G. C.Chaturvedi, Special Director General and Ms. Gurjot Kaur Chief Vigilance Officer of Organising Committee to look into all the details of QBR Launch Function, Overlays and SMAM issues. The Committee has been asked to submit its report by August 5, 2010,” the statement read.The Indian Olympic Association chief was left red-faced on Tuesday when the Ministry of External Affairs said that the e-mails from the Indian High Commission that he made public to justify huge payments to a UK-based firm were ‘doctored’.His back against the wall, Kalmadi has been isolated in the OC as well with some his own colleagues demanding an emergency meeting to discuss allegations of corruption, which have also been highlighted in a Central Vigilance Commission report.last_img read more

F1: Rejuvenated Vettel surges to victory in Spa classic

first_imgDefending Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel won the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday to strengthen his overall lead with seven races remaining. PhotosVettel started from pole position to win his seventh race of the season and 17th of his career. The German led Red Bull to a 1- 2 finish with Mark Webber finishing close behind.”I enjoyed every lap today. The car was fantastic to drive,” Vettel said. “If the car does what you want it to do, this place is really fun. It was a very entertaining race, with the strategy to come in early.” Lewis Hamilton’s slim title hopes took a further blow when his McLaren crashed early on.Hamilton slipped to fifth in the standings, 113 points behind Vettel, who has a 92-point advantage over second- placed Webber.Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is third in the drivers’ title race ahead of Jenson Button, despite the Briton overtaking the Spaniard late in the race to claim third place at Spa- Francorchamps.Button, who won the last race in Hungary, was left to rue what might have been had he not started the race way down in 13th spot on the grid.”To come away with the third was disappointing,” Button said.”Who knows what would have happened if we had qualified well.” Vettel secured pole position for the ninth time in 12 races this season. But he had not won any of the last three GPs in Britain, Germany and Hungary, and only one of the last five heading into Spa, prompting speculation that he was losing his grip on the title.advertisementVettel’s jubilation was evident at ending that winless run as he stood on top of his Red Bull after the race, and pumped his fists in delight.”What a race!” he told his Red Bull team over the race radio at the end as he won in Spa for the first time, banishing memories of last year’s 15th- place finish.The 24-year-old overcame significant tyre wear early on and held off Alonso when the Spaniard was pressuring strongly.Twenty years after making his F1 debut on the same track, seven- time former champion Michael Schumacher started from last place after crashing during the first lap of Saturday’s qualifying session. The 42- yearold German drove his Mercedes with panache to finish in fifth place behind Alonso.Tyre management proved a crucial factor in Vettel’s win on the seven- kilometre Spa circuit – the longest and arguably the most difficult on the F1 calendar.Hamilton pushed to overtake Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi on lap 13 and the two cars collided coming into the corner.The crash was more spectacular than harmful as debris from Hamilton’s car flew into the air.Hamilton, who has won two races this season, climbed out of his McLaren as the safety car was then deployed.”I’m not really quite sure what happened, I hit the wall pretty hard,” Hamilton said. “As far as I was concerned I was ahead of whoever I was racing and then I was hit by them.”Vettel seemed to get away quite slowly at the start and Nico Rosberg raced up from fifth place on the grid to overtake him at the Les Combes turn, with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Alonso both passing Hamilton. On the next lap, Alonso made a brilliant move to overtake Massa on a corner, while Hamilton also sneaked past the Brazilian to get back into fourth.Vettel took an early pit stop on the fifth lap to replace his blistered tyres with soft tyres. He came out of the pits in eighth place, but soon cut through the field and regained the lead when Hamilton went in for new tyres on lap 11.Within minutes, Hamilton was out of the race, despite his team telling him over the radio to “take it easy”.Seventh place for SutilA double points finish slipped out of Force India’s hands as Adrian Sutil finished seventh and Paul di Resta 11th. Nevertheless, it was a brilliant race for both drivers as they overcame poor grid positions, with Sutil eventually earning six points for Vijay Mallya’s team.It looked like a top- 10 finish for di Resta too, but with just six laps to go, the Scottish driver surrendered his 10th position as Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Williams’s Pastor Maldonado went past.With inputs from AP / PTIlast_img read more

Button dedicates Indian Grand Prix to Wheldon, Simoncelli

first_imgThe inaugural Indian Grand Prix was a great success on every count, with double champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull clinching his 11th win of the season.But for the drivers, there were mixed reactions as during the lead-up to the race, the motorsport world was rocked by the twin tragedies involving British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon and Italian MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, who lost their lives.McLaren driver Jenson Button led the way in expressing his grief, saying that it was an emotional time for everyone.”The last two weekends have been very, very difficult. We have had two fatalities so it is very difficult, especially with Dan. I knew Dan from a very early age.”He was the guy we always had to beat in the early Formula series. So I think we should dedicate this first Indian race to Dan and obviously Marco, another super-talented youngster. He was the most amazing guy to watch on a bike so I think we should dedicate this to them,” Button said after the race on Sunday.Vettel too said that despite his near-perfect performance, the memories of the deaths were still fresh in everyone’s minds.”On the one hand I am very, very happy. It is the first Grand Prix in India and I am very proud to be the first winner. But on the other hand, looking back to last weekend, we lost two of our mates.”I didn’t know Dan Wheldon but he was a big name in motorsport. I got to know Marco Simoncelli this year and our thoughts are with them. Yes, we are ready to take certain risks when we jump into the car but we obviously pray that nothing happens.advertisement”But sometimes you get reminded and it is the last thing that we want to see. So, as I said, it is a bit (of) mixed emotions and our thoughts are with them at this moment,” the Red Bull champion said.Talking about the race, Vettel – who broke Nigel Mansell’s 19-year-old record for most laps led in a single season – said that managing the tyres on the dusty Buddh track was a challenge.”It was a very good race for us. I enjoyed the time in the lead very much.”I had a little bit of a fight with Jenson. It was always around four seconds and strangely he kept closing in around the pitstops.On the circuit, it was crucial to manage the tyres and make sure that you have enough of them left in the end.”The car was very well balanced. I felt even a little bit more confident on the hard tyres at the end, but overall it was a fantastic performance. Thanks to the whole team,” he said.Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was happy that he managed to get on the podium and also stave off a stiff challenge from Red Bull’s Mark Webber.”We didn’t make the perfect start today. To be on a new circuit and starting on the ‘clean’ side, I think we didn’t have the grip that we were expecting.”Then we raced with Mark until the second pit-stop where, a little bit surprisingly, he decided to stop and we did two extra laps.So I was able to overtake him and I am extremely happy to win the podium in this first race here in India. To taste the champagne is always nice in the first race in a new country,” the Spaniard said.last_img read more

Modern estate development threatens Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Abode of Peace’

first_imgNEW SKYLINE: The first phase of a housing project is readyRabindranath Tagore’s “Abode of Peace” is fast becoming a theatre of war. Santiniketan, the university town founded by the Nobel laureate in Birbhum district in West Bengal, has been the centre of a brewing storm over the rash of real,NEW SKYLINE: The first phase of a housing project is readyRabindranath Tagore’s “Abode of Peace” is fast becoming a theatre of war. Santiniketan, the university town founded by the Nobel laureate in Birbhum district in West Bengal, has been the centre of a brewing storm over the rash of real estate development that threatens the founder’s vision of it as a tranquil seat of learning. Recently, a group of well-known intellectuals and celebrity residents filed a public interest petition in the Kolkata High Court against “the indiscriminate selling off of Santiniketan”. Their objection is against builders Bengal Ambuja, which are planning to turn the Khoai, the picturesque laterite basin caused by erosion, into a housing complex.There are many such basins in Santiniketan, but the Khoai of the lawsuit is said to have been immortalised by the writings of Tagore and the paintings of Ram Kinkar Baij and Nandalal Bose. While the recent petition concerns only one project, residents allege there are at least two others that will be out of tune with Tagore’s idea of Santiniketan.They say Bengal Peerless Group’s 13-acre housing scheme is launching its own assault on the Khoai and that it is also about to bring in a “nightclub culture” that is alien to Santiniketan. The 27-acre ecopark to be constructed by Surji Consultants also allegedly involves draining a 17.7 acre waterbody called the Laha Bundh. Discordant notes: Work for an ecopark in progress at Laha BundhMany prominent citizens of Kolkata and three local groups are readying for a second PIL (to begin by the end of this month) against construction at Laha Bundh. Adding to the uproar is the fact that there are other builders eyeing Santiniketan. It is not hard to seewhyBengalis are sensitive, touchy even, about the place.Quite apart from the associations with their favourite poet, the sleepy little university town, just 150 km from Kolkata, continues to be the hottest weekend getaway and post-retirement retreat for the city’s well-heeled. “The new projects are going to bring a certain kind of culture that will ruin the ambience and charm of Santiniketan,” says Sushanto Tagore, the poet’s grand-nephew. At the receiving end of all this ire is the Sriniketan Santiniketan Development Authority (SSDA), the government instituted body that is in charge of all development activity in these twin towns and their neighbour, Bolpur. Residents are upset by the indiscriminate and rapid green lighting of projects.It is not just the SSDA that is attracting the ire of concerned citizens. Also named in the lawsuit is Viswabharati University, as the designated upholder of Tagore ‘s ideals. According to the Act which brought the university under the Centre in 1951, Viswabharati’s territorial limits extend to about 3,000 hectares around it. The activists argue that if that is so, then the disputed projects are definitely encroaching on its land and should be thrown out by the university. No such thing is likely to happen anytime soon. Mainly because, as Vice-Chancellor Sujit Kumar Basu puts it, “Territorial limits do not necessarily mean ownership. We are investigating to see how much land the university actually owns.”At a basic level, the current controversy has to do with the fact that land ownership and jurisdiction rights is a fuzzy subject in Santiniketan. In 1863, Tagore’s father Debendranath took on lease of 20 bighas (6.6 acres) from the erstwhile owners, the Sinha zamindars of Raipur.Since then, lessees have changed hands many times, and large tracts have been deemed vested land. Some of that has now been acquired by the SSDA, though the question of whose authority holds-the SSDA’s or the university’s- is still an open one.SSDA Chairman Somnath Chatterjee, high-profile CPI(M) leader and parliamentarian, maintains there is no dispute about land ownership. “The three project areas do not fall within the land belonging to theViswabharati,”he says. “The government has given this land to the SSDA.” Executive Officer A.K. Das adds: “The site of the Ambuja housing scheme is not at the Khoai at all. At least not the Khoai Tagore wrote about.” Das is, however, tightlipped about the other projects, particularly the forthcoming draws for the ecopark. The Laha Bundh is bone dry, with loaders scooping up mud round the clock. “We are only dredging the bundh,” says Das.”We will refill the tank and have the ecopark in the 10 acres surrounding it.”The recent lawsuit has opened up a whole new debate about Santiniketan’s future. Does leaving it untouched imply (and risk) keeping it backward? Or should Santiniketan be allowed to become the Gurgaon of Bengal-and benefit from malls, a sports complex, hostels for students, bypass roads, a polyclinic and trauma centre and a host of other projects on the anvil? “This alleged concern is based on deliberate misinformation and crocodile tears for Santiniketan,” says an angry Chatterjee. “Those who are protesting do not want to know that there is a binding on every housing project cleared by the SSDA to provide a public service.”Something that is essential for a Santiniketan that was once primarily agrarian, but is fast changing. Over 70 per cent of the 1.26 lakh population (of the three towns taken together) is opting for “other” jobs. It is, however, not clear what these jobs are-and certainly there are not enough to go around.advertisementadvertisement”Birbhum has only one industry, and that is the Viswabharati University,” says Basu. “Everybody thinks they need only to come here to get a job. But the university cannot accommodate them all. So the new projects should be welcomed if they generate employment.”Santiniketan’s other revenue earner is an iffy tourism trade, with about five lakh visitors dropping in for the town’s two main events, the Pous Mela and the Vasantotsav. The administration thinks the activists are repressing a possible boom.Recently, when residents protested the granting of bar licences to four hotels in the town, a government officer brushed it off with: “You have to give the tourists something to do in the evening.” The problem is that nobody is clear at what cost.last_img read more

With 2010 Commonwealth Games in sight, Delhi hopes to turn into a world-class city

first_imgMakeover of Delhi for 2010 Commonwealth GamesIf the ambitious plans currently being finalised reach fruition, Delhi is to undergo a massive and hugely expensive makeover that will come close to finally realising its dream of being a world-class city.However, going by past record – Delhi’s status as the centre of,Makeover of Delhi for 2010 Commonwealth GamesIf the ambitious plans currently being finalised reach fruition, Delhi is to undergo a massive and hugely expensive makeover that will come close to finally realising its dream of being a world-class city.However, going by past record – Delhi’s status as the centre of Indian politics, with control over key areas of development divided between the state Government and the Centre, and the urban chaos that has resulted-these grandiose plans amount to building castles in the air.Yet, for several reasons, this could be the most comprehensive transformation for the capital since Independence.The incentive is powerful: the 2010 Commonwealth Games. As a sports event, the Commonwealth Games rank just below the Olympics. The budget for Delhi 2010 – a mind-boggling Rs 80,000 crore is by far the single biggest injection of funds for the city.Many projects-like the showpiece Metro, among others-are already up and running, or are part of the Delhi 2010 Development Plan. The Games offer a convenient incentive to launch a massive regeneration plan that could, if all goes well, establish the benchmark for urban planning in India.Yet, it will be a Herculean task in terms of mustering political will, co-ordinating between several agencies and overcoming bureaucratic hurdles that have turned an elegant, historic city into one of the most crowded and polluted in the world.Delhi’s record is already dismal: the Yamuna that runs through the city stinks; one out of every three residents lives in slums; public transport is in a shambles and monsoons spell choked drains and potholed roads. Delhi is also notorious for its VIP movement and multiple modes of transport that create havoc on roads.advertisementFinding parking space for vehicles is a nightmare. Summers are synonymous with lengthy power cuts and dry taps. Commercialisation of residential areas, that led to a huge demolition-cum-sealing drive (see box), has symbolised the difference between promises and realityGetting ready for 2010Click here to EnlargeAccording to Plan 2010, however, all this will be history when the Delhi Government waves its magic wand for a Cinderella-like transformation of the city. This time, there is a credible difference. The Games have injected a new sense of unified purpose and commitment that has rarely been seen before, and the massive funding has huge potential to change the city.Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is optimistic. “By 2010, we will turn Delhi into a dream city which is beautiful, clean, green and world-class,” she says. Till now, growth has been mostly accidental. The classy Delhi Metro, a mass rapid transit system, had been in the making for almost five decades and underwent 35 studies before finally taking off in 1998.Whether it is the agonisingly slow Sonia Vihar water project or the privatisation of the Delhi Jal Board, slum rehabilitation, or regularisation of unauthorised colonies, these are tough decisions with huge financial, political and social stakes involved. “Had we been a full-fledged state, things would have moved faster,” admits Dikshit.Even so, there is cause for cautious sanguinity. In terms of development, Delhi is moving faster than any other Indian city. For sceptics, the biggest proof is the rapid rollout of the capital-intensive Metro Rail, which has already earned justifiable praise for outstanding efficiency and service.Also, the pilots of major projects-multi-storey parking complexes, high-capacity bus system, garbage privatisation, expressways- are already underway. That is why there is reason for optimism. Says Stephen Davies, former managing director, Bata, which relocated its headquarters to Gurgaon after 70 years in Kolkata: “Delhi seems to be the only city which is planning big and thinking long-term.”Airport RevampClick here to EnlargeFortunately for Delhi, a convergence of factors may help overcome traditional hurdles this time. The world over, cities like Atlanta, Barcelona and Seoul have used sports events like the Olympics to transform themselves. Beijing is investing a staggering $35 billion in infrastructure in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics.The Asian Games in 1982, though much smaller in scale with a Rs 500-crore budget, had changed Delhi with new sports complexes, residential areas like the Asian Games Village, culture and entertainment hubs such as the Siri Fort complex and much-needed flyovers. With Congress governments at the Centre and locally, the mood in the capital’s power corridors is co-operative rather than confrontational.”The Partition and the Asian Games were two defining events for Delhi. The Commonwealth Games will be the third,” says Amin Ullah Khan, fellow, India Development Foundation, which focuses on urban development issues. He feels that the Games will work as an anchor around which mega – plans in Delhi can be pushed in a time-bound manner.advertisementPerhaps the biggest and most ambitious is the complete overhaul of the public transport system within and around the city, with an estimated investment of over Rs 30,000 crore by 2010. The capital already has the world’s largest CNG fleet with 80,000 vehicles, including 10,000 buses for public transport. Monorails, a high-capacity bus system and environment-friendly electric trolleys will provide the city with an alternative mode of clean, comfortable transportation.With more than 40 flyovers, better roads and well-designed pedestrian walkways in the pipeline, commuting on Delhi roads will be much easier. Moreover, the current parking chaos will be sorted out if plans by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to build computerised multistorey parking complexes materialise. In Nehru Place, work on a pilot project has already begun.RED FLAGSAD HOC PLANNING: There are several bodies and layers of bureaucracy; so no single body oversees Delhi’s planning and developmentPOWER PAINS: As Delhi is the political hub, populist decisions are more likely in issues such as slum rehabilitation and tariff hikes.POPULATION PRESSURE: Delhi’s population grows by about four lakh annually, mostly due to migration. Plans can go awry.CRASS COMMERCIALISATION: Town planners and experts worry that rampant construction may eventually destroy the historic city.There’s more to the landscape of the 2010 dream city. Entry points to the city-railway stations and airports, including Delhi airport- will be given a major facelift. The recent handover of the airport to a private consortium is already seeing an upgradation of facilities.The railways have joined the fray with a war chest of at least Rs 300 crore. Rundown railway stations in New Delhi, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin will undergo a makeover with clean, modern platforms, food plazas, ATMs, escalators and multi-storey parking complexes.At least four railway terminals are being upgraded to help decongest traffic. Garbage management is being handed over to private companies, with bio-degradable and non-degradable waste being collected separately. The city’s garbage will be reduced by half, says Rakesh Mehta, former MCD commissioner.Dirty public convenience facilities are also getting a makeover as their maintenance is being handed over to private companies, which also get the advertising rights. Private agencies will also maintain subways, roads and parking facilities.The dull DTC buses are already donning vibrant colours. Outdoor advertising with neon lights will be used to give the city’s faade an international and contemporary look, particularly in corporate complexes like Bhikaji Cama Place and Nehru Place. Already, in areas like Khan Market and Janpath, attractive, uniform signeage for shops has been introduced.The NDMC also plans a major facelift of the municipal areas, including the central vista in Connaught Place. “We hope to make the NDMC area world-class and turn it into a major tourist destination,” says Sindhushree Khullar, NDMC Chairman.The Commonwealth Games will also give sports infrastructure a new lease of life. The Delhi Development Authority is planning to build five new sports complexes, two mini-sports arenas and six multi-gyms, along with the upgradation of six existing stadia. The Games Village being set up on the banks of the Yamuna will lead to beautification of the entire area, including the filthy river itself. Lakes and water bodies meant for aquatic sports will add to the new green look the area is slated to get.advertisementDreams for DelhiClick here to EnlargeThe National Capital Region (NCR) is riding piggyback on Delhi in this drive. The eight-lane Delhi-Gurgaon expressway will be completed soon, while a Rs 3,600-crore peripheral expressway on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border and Delhi-Haryana border will reduce the heavy traffic that passes through the capital. Noida and Gurgaon will both be connected by the Metro with a doit-yourself funding model.The Delhi government is also betting big on technology to improve efficiency. GPS and GIS will help in tracking buses while the extensive use of smart cards will make life easier for residents. It helps that Delhi’s ambitious plans are on sound footing. Fiscally, the state is among the few in India with a healthy balance sheet. Its net revenue in 2004-05 was Rs 5,700 crore. Being the capital, it will also get generous funding from the Centre.The MCD is being restructured for better governance. Amid much protest, water tariffs have been rationalised. Water loss in transportation will be brought down from around 40 to 10 per cent in the next three years. Parking rates in select areas have been raised. Says Dikshit: “Some of them are tough decisions politically. But involving people through bhagidari will help.”The buzzword in the government is public-private partnership. While power distribution has been fully privatised, other services will soon follow suit. Corporate sponsorships and advertisement rights are being explored to raise revenues for the maintenance of roads, parks, community centres and parking complexes.Almost 35 per cent of the investment is likely to come from the private sector. “The Government’s role will increase as a regulator and shrink as a service provider,” says R.K. Verma, former chairman, NCR Planning Board.Rs 30,000 crore on public transportRs 4,500 crore on garbage disposalRs 2,200 crore on games infrastructureRs 800-1,000 crore annually on waterBut concerns remain. “The biggest challenge for Delhi is how it responds to people’s growing aspirations,” says Mehta. For a city that swells by more than four lakh people every year, with over 70 per cent of the increase by way of migration, population growth can throw all calculations awry. The city’s population is expected to go up from 14 to 17 million by 2010.Despite the naysayers, there has been a subtle, yet significant, change in Delhi’s character. The city is throwing away its political tantrums and bureaucratic whims and learning to be tech-savvy. “A certain amount of professionalism has come in. And there is a dilution of the babu culture,” says Raman Roy, a BPO industry veteran. The dialogue between the industry and the government is robust, he says.Just how robust it is will be known in a few years. But there is already a discernable buzz around Delhi that reflects its aggressive, go-getting Punjabi culture. The swank malls, the plethora of restaurants, the spending power of its citizens that is attracting global luxury brands and manufacturers alike, are all indications that the capital may finally be ready to take on its biggest challenge- to transform itself into a top-notch city. Delhi 2010 may yet be a dream, but with the new plans, Delhi’s past glory may finally be matched by its future.last_img read more

Mood of the Nation Poll: BCCI identified more with business and politics

first_imgIndia’s greatest sport iconClick here to EnlargeHad this poll been conducted just after India’s 6-1 ODI series win over Sri Lanka, its results may well have been the reverse.For the moment, it is good news for Sourav Ganguly, bad news for the BCCI and further proof of the emotional nature,India’s greatest sport iconClick here to EnlargeHad this poll been conducted just after India’s 6-1 ODI series win over Sri Lanka, its results may well have been the reverse.For the moment, it is good news for Sourav Ganguly, bad news for the BCCI and further proof of the emotional nature of Indian cricket’s consuming classes. The BCCI and Ganguly may be closely linked today, but it is the cricketer who walks off with more sympathy votes than he probably could have got in a secret ballot in his dressing room.Opinion about his career is divided. The question: whether he deserves to be in the Indian team is met with ambiguity. Though 36 per cent say there is still room for him in the team and another 18 per cent add the rider of continued performance, India is largely undecided. Only a minority though believe it is time to haul him up one last time. The BCCI does not get off as lightly: the Board is strongly identified more with business and politics rather than cricket, with nearly half the respondents polled agreeing fully or to some extent that power play and business deals have taken precedence to the game.Much of this has to do with what must be the uppermost in public memory: the BCCI’s November elections and the sight of its chief Sharad Pawar and Ganguly smiling at the cameras four days before the selection of the team for Pakistan.Through all the controversy, one name continues to ring true. Sixteen years on, Sachin Tendulkar continues to rule-more than OK.72% Of West Bengal voters feel Ganguly should be in the indian team but 18 % of all voters say only if he performs.advertisementlast_img read more