AFP: "India to target beggars in 2010 Commonwealth Games clean-up" by Pratap Chakravarty

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It is no doubt that Delhi has some of the most anti-poor policies that Indian cities have seen in recent years, particularly regarding the criminalisation of beggars and the unnanounced and politically motivated slum eviction drives (refer to the 2005 Yamuna Pushta River Eviction for example).

However, one of the great green lights that municipal and state ministers have been able to hide behind is the upcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games, which have been used to justify many unnanounced and anti-poor "clean up" policies in the name of gearing up for the games.

There is a whole field of study devoted to "showcase cities" and the effect of megaevents and games to uproot citizens and be able to pass and fasttrack policies that would otherwise be unfeasible. Furthermore, enormous amounts of money are spent and efforts exorted on venues that later go underutilized after the games, which does little to create permanent change for the city. On the other hand, positive results are possible, such as the effect of the 1992 Olympics on Barcelona's renovation.

But Delhi has a history of displacement for Games. Who I would label the Doctor Evil of much of Delhi's municipal agenda is none other than Union Minister of Tourism and Culture and conservative hinduist BJP member Jagmohan Malhotra, who also took a leading role in the displacement of residents for the Asian Games of 1982 , being personally responsible for demolishing thousands of families' homes in unfair practices throughout his entire career...the Bulldozer King.

Based on some quotes from the article, it seems pretty obvious the Commonwealth Games are heading in the same direction. Furthermore, solutions seem to be geared at hiding poverty by hanging a white sheet over it than really targeting the underlying problems.

"India plans to round up beggars to shield foreigners from New Delhi's rampant poverty during the Commonwealth Games, seen as a showcase of the country's emerging economic might.

The drive comes as the government is rushing to build 39 plush hotels to house visitors, new roads and overpasses and an air-conditioned Games village to accommodate athletes for the sporting event to be held in October 2010.

"We Indians are used to beggars but Westerners are not and so we need to clean up," New Delhi's Social Welfare Minister Mangat Ram Singhal told AFP, saying the crackdown on beggars would go into high gear on Monday.

"We'll catch them all," he said." (click here for full article)

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