Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Asia International Cyclothoin 2010 - Topix

Asia International Cyclothoin 2010 - Topix

EQUATIONS Report on Tourism in the CWG 2010

EQUATIONS Report on Tourism in the CWG 2010

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2010-07-28 05:33:03 - Nksagar - Sagar Media -: Professional organization EQUATIONS (Equitable Tourism Options) launched a report titled “Humanity – Equality – Destiny?”Implicating Tourism in the Commonwealth Games, 2010 – investigating links between mega-sport events, tourism, and notions of development and democracy

The report examines critically the hopes and myths, as well as assumptions and mental models about tourism’s potential of the Games. Linked to this are the preparations being undertaken for tourists, a key aspect being the transformation of Delhi into a world class city. The social, cultural, economic, environmental, political, and human rights impacts ensuing from the preparations under way
are examined.
Presenting the Report Rosemary Viswanath, Kalyani Menon-Sen, Usha Ramanathan and Miloon Kothari spoke on the report findings and developments related to the CW Games.
The story of India’s bid is of a process that did not involve debate at any level of governance of the implications and consequences of the decision to host the Games. Those who took the decision unilaterally are now washing their hands of the consequences – runaway budgets, human rights violations, misplaced investment priorities & returns, and misleading promises about impact and legacy.
Another intersting point raised was Sports for All? Sports policy in India has not been able to move towards the vision of sports for all,and prioritise the development of sporting culture and facilities at the grassroots. However these are the claims on which these events are bid for and organised.
An to utter surprise. The draft Sports Policy of 2007 being put in cold storage, and schemes such as the Panchayat Yuva Krida aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) being
starved of funds, are stark indicators of priorities gone terribly wrong. Massive infrastructure investments for mega sporting events in the PPP mode seems to be a method to transfer resources to lobbies of realtors and power-elite in the name of sports.
Tourism Myths: Mega events have little to do with bolstering tourism, and in fact can have a negative impact. The Ministry of Tourism in asserting the need for 40000 rooms in Delhi for the Commonwealth Games has been singularly lax in ensuring the quality of its research or data. What this has set off is a real estate bonanza. 39 prime properties have been auctioned by DDA for the purpose of construction of starred hotels to meet the demand for CWG of which only 4 were
completed by April 2010. It would have been better to focus on the budget accommodation and SME sector which have received little attention.
Rosemary Viswanath, Chief Functionary, EQUATIONS said “In a country with endemic poverty, local people who live in destinations unfortunately gain little from tourism. The Ministry of Tourism refuses to recognise that its policy making and implementation priorities have little substantiation for claims on millions of jobs, projection of millions of future tourists, and local economy multipliers. Continuing to provide sops and subsidies to a creamy layer of tourism elites, it largely plays the role of a publicity manager showcasing “Incredible India “on their behalf. The Common Wealth Games is a classic example of this
Large scale tourism projects are major accomplices in the world class city project. The Union Ministry, as well as the State governments, jockeying for large scale tourism projects have resulted in land grabs, illegalities, and human rights violations on an unprecedented scale -facts that do not appear in tourism’s glossy brochures.

Miloon Kothari, Executive Director, Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) and former UN Special Rapporteur said, “The report is a detailed expose of how the claims for the Commonwealth Games ‘bolstering tourism’ and creating a ‘world-class city’ have become code-words for blatant land-grabbing,
diversion of funds meant for the development of Delhi’s poor and systematic human rights violations. The report convincingly demonstrates that the Games are one more step in the direction of making Delhi an apartheid city.”

Collateral Damage: The Games have come with huge negative implications for the poor, the marginalised, and the vulnerable. Evictions and displacements on a massive scale in the Capital city of Delhi have seen almost no recompense or alternatives for those affected.
Kalyani Menon-Sen, Independent Researcher and Activist, pointed out that “Women have been in the forefront of resistance to the evictions and demolitions undertaken by the government in the lead-up to the Games, and have been targets for violence by police and the land mafia. One in three women in
resettlement colonies is unemployed, and those who work report a 50% fall in income even after increasing the number of hours of work”.
The blatant violation of labour rights of construction workers, tracked and documented by civil society groups, required direct intervention from the High Court of Delhi as the Government machinery turned a blind eye.
Usha Ramanathan, Independent Law Researcher said “The 2010 Games will end up showcasing disaster for the population leaving a city in ruins. It will go down in history for changing geographies and demographics without any democratic process”.

The Group came out with demands in Public interest -:
· A re-visioning and transformation of tourism policy and practise in India. The premise of tourism being a development tool is untenable as it primarily addresses the needs of an elite section of the industry and tourists. The policy and priorities of the Ministry of Tourism need to be aligned to the realities on the ground.
· The social, cultural, economic, environmental, political, and human rights impacts and violations of the CWG are evident but either denied or set aside as “matters to look into”. The denial of democratic space and space for dissent is the most serious casualty. We join many other organisations in the demand that high level enquiries be made into these violations of rights and norms of governance.
· The nation deserves an honest answer to the question of how much has been spent on the Games and what the consequence of this are on social schemes and access to basic facilities by the poor. An urgent report by the CAG must be commissioned immediately. It must also enquire into who benefitted from the Games in terms of contracts & real estate deals. An independent enquiry into
privileges such as large scale auction of prime sites for hotels should be commissioned.
· A parliamentary committee inquiry should be held into the breach of privilege by several Ministries linked to the CWG in Parliament who provided inadequate and misleading information to Parliament Questions.
· An inquiry into the administration of national sports bodies and the stronghold of private “autonomous” bodies and the boundaries of their authority must be made.
· An independent impact assessment study post the games to assess real economic impact, increase in tourism, and other claims. It is critical that these impacts are documented and we learn from them before India succumbs to becoming a mega event addict.

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