New Delhi: As the Capital races to finish projects ahead of the Commonwealth Games, another crisis is looming. An ongoing demolition drive in the Capital's backpackers' paradise Paharganj may leave an acute shortage of hotel rooms for the visiting tourists.
It was Municipal Corporation of Delhi's (MCD) plan to demolish illegally built rooms in Paharganj. The idea was to beautify the area ahead of the Commonwealth Games, but things have not gone according to plan.
The work started here in March and the hope was that it would get over by the time Games come, but with the pace of work it seems unlikely that this will happen. In fact shopkeepers say that it will be well after the Commonwealth Games that the work will finally get over.
And the irony is that with 1 lakh tourists expected in barely two months for the Games, now there's no room to stay. There is a shortfall of close to 10,000 rooms.
"150 rooms have already been broken, they talk of shortage on one hand and then break 150 rooms on the other," said Arun Gupta, President Hotel Mahasangh.
"I came here as it is a very nice market , but it is very dangerous. So I am not sure I will come back," said Maria, a tourist from Chile.
Originally, 28 hotels were to have come up in the NCR. But six of them never started due to financial problems, and 10 are unlikely to meet the October deadline.
While the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) also plans to use its 6500 newly built flats as service apartments for the Games, this still leaves a shortfall of 7-10 thousand rooms.
The Delhi government is hoping that more Delhiites will offer bed and breakfast to the tourists during the Games, but city's soar points may well deter both hosts and visitors.