NOVEMBER 10, 2006
And so to Delhi?
As we reported in May, an Indian Grand Prix is creeping ever closer to becoming a reality and the latest project seems to be in the city of Delhi, the nation's capital and the country's third largest city was a population estimated to be around 15m. Three years ago the city won its bid to host the Commonwealth Games in October 2010 and these are being seen as a great opportunity to create economic growth. The Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit has ambitions to make Delhi into what she calls a "world class city" and more than $1bn is being invested. In addition to the sporting facilities, the city will modernise its transportation, renovate the airport, secure reliable electricity and water supplies, and regenerate the city centre. When the Commonwealth Games Federation was evaluating the venue in 2003 it concluded that Delhi's infrastructure was "adequate" and that the city had a good supply of hotel rooms but that it was seriously congested. The government's plan is to develop a metro system and build 74 new flyovers to try to get the traffic moving. At the moment, the World Bank still ranks Delhi as one of the world's most polluted cities. The authorities are now moving into action and have relocated 250,000 people from shanty towns along the Yamuna river and the plan is for the city to be free of slums by 2010.
All this investment has attracted some criticism but Delhi is making no secret of the fact that it will be bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games and the Asian Games in 2014. It is believed that a bid for a Grand Prix is another element of the plan to maximise the value of the work being done. Recent studies have concluded that it is too expensive to renovate the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which was built in 1982, and is planning to build a completely new stadium in the Kalindi Kunj area, in the southern part of the city. It may be that this area will end up being used as a parkland circuit.
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