Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Commonwealth Games: Can’t we wait some more time?

Every country wants to conduct spectacular sporting events in their home, weather it is Olympics, Asian Games, FIFA world Cup (or any other world cup for that matter), Commonwealth Games etc. But the wishes are not the only ingredient to conduct these games; If China’s recent Olympics was an Indicator money have to flow in to these games like water is flowing in the Amazon river.

Indeed for 2010 common wealth games India was not the sole bidder – Hamilton (Ontario) was offering a tough competition to New Delhi. But at that point of time (During the second round of voting) India government stepped in and promised US$ 1, 00,000 to each participating country (For your information there are 72 participating nations for 2010 commonwealth games) along with air ticket, boarding, Transport and lodging - an offer which is not possible to appear even in the wildest imaginations of farmers from Vidarbha or Waynad. Hamilton may not be that much worried after losing to New Delhi and other countries may be too happy to vote for New Delhi.

Just like any other project in India, this too have huge cost overruns – the only difference is that, this time it was too much – ranging from 500% to 1500% depends on who is calculating. But this $1.6bn (not including the capital already spend on Infrastructure) sporting (extravaganza) is definitely the costliest in the Commonwealth games history. This cost escalation looks like government have too much money to spend and as it cant dump these money in ocean – just like dumping the wasted food grains from the FCI godown in the oceans because of the ‘highly efficient’ Public Distribution System – wasting the money in this extravaganza. Anyway it nullified at least half the income in the recent 3G spectrum auction.

And for projecting the new and emerging India - where slums are completely alien – government executed a beautification drive in Delhi. This resulted in the demolition of hundreds of homes and displacement of city dwellers. Are they not part of the emerging India? Or are we putting the stories of uneven grown and out of growth under the carpets? What more; government even erected bamboo screens around city slums to separate visitors from the sight of the slums. This remembered me the story which I studied in the school days, where a person hides his aged mother from the eyes of his visiting boss, and in the end he asked his mother - when she decides to go for Kashi (Varanasi) to spend the rest of her life - to postpone the journey and requested to sew a sweater for his boss so that he can get a promotion. Delhi high court even implemented a mobile court to relocate the migrant beggars from Delhi streets, what about the mobile courts for already panding cases?

CWG (Common wealth Games) was not only come under heavy criticism for the delay in the preparation of stadium but also to the accusation of corruption. If the corruption charges are proved correct then, it will make the point more clear and vivid that – it is difficult to execute a massive project (In fact any project) in India which involves huge amount of money with out some (or all) money going to private bank accounts. Its still not explained how a UK firm which is supposed to supply video equipment ends up supplying cars for rentals and the financial transactions related to it; of course ‘Organizing Committee’ denied all the allegations.

All this makes me to rethink about the possibility of my country organizing much bigger events like Asian Games and Olympics. The hole created by in the exchequer by the Common Wealth Games may be filled up by the money from the 3G spectrum auction. But every time we can’t hold a spectrum auction, neither we can have this much cost overruns. It is neither advisable nor a good strategy to spend this much money in a sport event at a time, when according to the new measurement of poverty index Eight Indian states accounts for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African Countries combined. So instead of jumping forward to organize Asian Games and Olympics it better to make our house in order even if it resulted in the waiting of one more decade.

As Delhi is already the National Capital, and hosted the first Asian Games it may be good that if we move the future games to some tier 2 cities like Indore, Patna, Nagpur, Kochi, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow etc so that these cities will be able to get the global focus and Infrastructure improvement. Furthermore if we are spending the money, which we offered to other countries to improve the sports in their countries, in Indian domestic sports circuits it will definitely increase the number in the medal list. No one can popularize a sport event if it doesn’t have any appeal in the grass roots. Football and Cricket become highly popular neither because of the government support nor because of the corporates but because of the support it have in the grass roots.

All aboard Delhi's beggar express
India razes slums, leaves poor homeless
Poor lose before Games begin
New Delhi to hide slums with bamboo 'curtains' during 2010 Commonwealth Games
UK government follows CWG cash trail

1 comment:

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