NEW DELHI: In less than a month from now, the National Capital is going to host its biggest sporting event of the year—the hugely anticipated FIFA U-17 World Cup. But preparations seem to be off the mark.
The Safdarjung Airport—which had set up a park-and-ride facility at the airport during the commonwealth Games 2010—is not willing to provide similar assistance for the mega event.
The park-and-ride service would have facilitated visitors as the main venue of the global event, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is located just a few kilometres from the airport. Sources said the Airports Authority of India, in charge of the VVIP airport, has shot down the proposal sent to it by the organising authorities of FIFA around two months ago.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had sought an opinion of authorities of Safdarjung airport as to whether the park-and-ride facility proposal for the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup event was feasible.
Sources said the airport has conveyed to the AAI that the proposal is not feasible as the area that was converted into parking space at the time of the CWG has now become a green field. Sources in the AAI also said airport authorities have conveyed that the proposal was impossible due to security reasons. The airport mainly sees VIP operations which will be impacted if any area of the airport is given for parking facility.
A senior official of the AAI, who did not wish to be named, said, “During the CWG when the airport provided parking facility, its operations were impacted. But because the prestige of the nation was associated with the event, the airport made temporary arrangements. With FIFA, the country’s image is not at stake... we have decided to turn down the proposal.”
A senior official from Safdarjung airport also confirmed that they had written to the AAI advising against giving the airport area for parking facility. The official explained, “It is not feasible to again make similar arrangements like the one made in 2010.”
Park-and-ride facilities are parking lots with public transport connections allowing commuters the option of leaving their private vehicles and commuting through public transport for the remainder of the journey. Spread over 1,70,000 sqm, the area could accommodate 3,000 cars, 6,000 two-wheelers and 450 buses.