Archive for July, 2010

Rain

July 21, 2010

It’s persisting down. Hopefully this will be the wettest monsoon we have experienced. Apart from the minor inconveniences of damp, slightly smelly clothes, an assault by viruses and a general downturn in business – many locals go into hibernation or leave for sunnier climes – it’s a wonderful time of year. The rain and clouds get the temperature down to the point where Alison digs out a pullover and we occasionally think about shutting windows at night. Dust turns to mud, which doesn’t get into the house. Brown stuff turns green. Paddy fields turn into lakes. We don’t sweat. There’s plenty of fun news about falling-down trees and houses and collapsing roads and drains, not enough/too much of the stuff etc; as if the rain and damage it causes is somehow unexpected.

No doubt if it’s still like this in three weeks we’ll be gagging for some sunshine, but we’ll enjoy the novelty of it right now.

CWG progress

July 21, 2010

The handover by contractors to organisers of the venues for the Commonwealth Games is due in 10 days time. None of the venues are near completion and little of the infrastrucure is complete. We are not surprised. Planning is not a strong point in India; last minute damage limitation is. But do unfinished buildings matter?

Nothing in India ever gets finished properly but everything seems to work. And if it’s for show the government’s ‘smoke and mirrors’ brigade will be called in to make the show work… and they rarely fail. So no it doesn’t matter, the show will go on even if little is working or completed behind the scenes. The viewing public won’t know any different and those actually attending will have a tale of woes, but their voice will be small.

Also, reported today. Rain brings Delhi to a halt.

CWG

July 8, 2010

CWG is the acronym for Commonwealth Games.We couldn’t resist just copying this article (edited) from today’s Times of India (TOI) following our T3 blog from yesterday when we wrote ‘Watch this space’.

NEW DELHI: Three hours of showers on Wednesday evening were enough to expose the tall claims of the babus who run this Games-bound city that they were prepared for the rains. The Capital came to a standstill and commuters in the peak office hour were stranded as extensive waterlogging, traffic signals on the blink and road cave-ins – the worst at Aurobindo Marg – resulted in a complete logjam.

TOI, which has been repeatedly highlighting the civic mess in the city and trying to alert officials about the rains, was flooded with calls from readers caught in the jams reported from all around the city. There was a flood of horror stories about people caught for hours in traffic that refused to move.

The city experienced only 21.2mm of rain through the day, of which barely 9mm was recorded in the evening. But even this was enough to expose the unpreparedness of the civic agencies as clogged sewer lines, extensive digging in many areas and poor desilting work saw most of the rain water accumulate on the roads.

As traffic crawled on many arterial roads in the city, the worst hit were central, south and south-west Delhi. At Dhaula Kuan, a portion of the grade separator connecting Ring Road got completely submerged. It was closed for traffic. In no time, the ripple effect of the jams during the evening rush hour clogged Shanti Path, Moti Bagh, Africa Avenue Marg, SP Marg, Ridge Road and NH-8, closing all the outlets for the thick traffic dispersing from central Delhi.

Drivers were stuck for up to four hours. A new arterial road has collapsed into a hole, plenty more damge done. However we guess that although the showers were light, the rain is probably the first for many months and that the first rains do probably bring an element of chaos and destruction and that this is part of the civic authorities monsoon plan. The babus will however be praying for no rain during the games.

Bandh

July 7, 2010

Bandh, (pronounced bund, u as in bun), means ‘closed’. It is a political protest used by activists, who declare a general strike. This can be national or local. The rules of this wasteful game expect the general public to stay at home and not turn up for work. Traders are expected to keep their shops closed, bus and cab drivers are pressured to stay at home. A bandh is a powerful but largely useless tool because of the negative impact on communities. We feel that the only purpose of a bandh is to fuel the ego of the politician(s).

On Monday the was a national bandh called by the opposition parties. The stated object? To get the government to remove a modest hike in fuel taxes. Goa largely ignored it in the early part of the day, but thuggish behaviour of activists persuaded the locals that it was wiser to shut up and go home; the normal and Monday frenzy was stilled to the quietness of Sunday afternoons. Lost business and disrupted schedules
were our losses, as no doubt was that of many others. Will the government reduce or remove the increased tariffs? Highly unlikely.

T3 IGI ahead of schedule?

July 7, 2010

T3 IGI

T3, the new terminal at Indira Ghandi International Aiport Delhi (IGI), was ‘opened’ ‘ahead of schedule’ a week ago by the India’s President and PM with full pomp and amid huge media accolades. From the pictures it looks as good as any other modern airport and from the write-ups it will be able to handle three times the current volume. However, we have never experienced ‘Ahead of schedule’ in India. It just doesn’t happen. And the last time we were reading about the new terminal we were led to believe that it was due to be opened in April this year. So we were surprised at the announcement and we wondered whether this was heralding a change in attitude to time-keeping in India.

But it came as no surprise when we read today that the opening of T3 IGI is delayed and will be opened in three parts. Ho hum. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Watch this space for ‘ahead of schedule…not’ Commonwealth Games stories.