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Southern States - Andhra Pradesh-Hyderabad Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Afro-Asian Games in luxury lane

By Suresh Krishnamoorthy

HYDERABAD SEPT. 25. Thirty Mercedes Benzs and BMWs, 50 Volvos and other busess, 150 mini buses and 500 Tata Indicas -- all air-conditioned and wheeled wonders. They are all for use in the Afro-Asian Games, less than a month away.

Another occasion for the city to show off its capabilities as it gets spruced up to receive about 3,500 sportspersons and officials from 98 countries. In 2002, it was the National Games. In 2003, it is time for the first-ever Afro-Asian Games. For the second time in a span of 12 months, the Transport Department in the city has shifted into overdrive. Of the cars, the luxury ones - Benzs and BMWs - would ferry visiting heads of State. The cars being hired are Ford Ikon, Honda City, Opel Astra, Hyundai Accent and Sonata and Skoda.

For over a month now, members of the Tender Committee - the Joint Transport Commissioners, M. Krishna Reddy and C.L.N. Gandhi (Hyderabad), and the Deputy Commissioner, P. Srinivas, -- have been at work calling tenders and processing applications received from four southern States. The tender bids put in by operators in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are to be finalised on Saturday. Bids from local operators would take a little more time for finalisation.

An air-conditioned Indica may cost Rs. 650 for eight hours and for 80 km or Rs. 850 for 12 hours and 100 km or Rs. 1,850 for 24 hours and 250 km. An `E' or a `C' class Mercedes comes anywhere between Rs. 9,000 and Rs. 10,000 for 24 hours and 250 km. Hire charges in the State are much higher than those quoted by operators from the three southern States. This is because a tourist vehicle in Karnataka, Kerala or Tamil Nadu is hired for at least 60 to 70 days in a quarter of 90 days. In Andhra Pradesh, a vehicle goes out on hire for not more than 30 days in a quarter, says Mr. Srinivas.

"The scale of operations for the Afro-Asian Games is much bigger. Our visitors will of international stature and among the first of sights to greet them here will be the vehicles. So, we have to put up our best," is how the Transport Commissioner and Convenor of the Transport Sub-Committee, A. Giridhar, sums up.

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