Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Common Wealth" Games - Another disaster for India?

[Common Wealth Games - Delhi 2010]
“Let’s accept the fact that there is corruption in almost all government departments, but this is too much, at least they should do the work properly in time”.

“I feel very angry towards the congress government” --- Some statements from my friends.

There is one obvious advantage of yet to begin 2010 Common Wealth Games. It made even the most non-political person to raise their voice against corruption (at least temporarily), even the recent 2G telecom scam failed in that account. Suddenly Kashmir issue and Naxal problems disappeared from the front pages, not much news about the so called all party delegation went in to Kashmir. Much hyped IPL cases no longer runs in the prime time. Papers stopped giving the photos and statements of ‘Laliat Modi’ in sports page – otherwise there will be one photo and statement from them on every other day. It is a happy time for journalists; they are completely drawn in the floods of news – If they don’t have any news just go to any of the CWG venues – either something will collapse (Is there any more foot over bridge in CWG venue to collapse?) or some other country will publish they doubts on whether to participate or not in the games.

I don’t know who coined the name Common Wealth Games for this sporting event, whoever it may be; this CWG - Delhi 2010 took it in full spirit (literally). People really made it “Common Wealth” Games.

[Broken Foot Over Bridge]

Corruption is not new in India; you have to pay money from village offices to Police stations to make the system work. If you know whom to approach and have the money to spend, you may not have to worry about anything, overnight spirit will be converted to water and victim will become accused. As one of my friend said this time it was too much – beyond the digestive power of ordinary Indians. I got the depth of public angry towards the commonwealth games when one of my friends - a hard core supporter of Congress party, no matter what is their policy - started criticizing the party and government for the mess. It’s interesting to note that he didn’t said much against the thousands of crores 2G scam.

# Back to the Beginning:

From beginning itself everything went wrong. There is no doubt that - it was a good decision from the previous government to bid for the games, but the bad part of that bid is – do we really need to bribe other nations (around 1 lack $ for each participating nation) to get the games? That too, at a time when many parts of India - especially central Indian states like MP - have Child’s who are under severe malnutrition. Many reports even compare these parts of India to the war torn Sub Saharan African countries where civil wars never ends.

Work still not completed?
Even after seven years, works are not finished and even the finished structures are coming down. Recently Army was called to create a foot over bridge in one of CWG venues and they are supposed to finish the work in five days. So what happened to the crores of rupees (some papers reported it as 10 crore) spend on the crumbled down bridge? It may require 1000 page book to articulate all the problems regarding to CWG-2010 - a perfect example of what not to be done in organizing sporting events. It’s not that we don’t have any experience in these fields – Indians conducted the first ever Asian Games and Afro-Asian Games, Asian games come back to India one more time- in the eighties. BCCI organized Cricket world cup in India – they even conducted the 1996 Cricket world cups in different parts of the country. Indians organized the second part of IPL completely in South Africa. Many people even predicted that IPL 2 will be a complete failure as it is happening completely in South Africa, but it turns out to be another success story. Even now cricket matches are conducted across the country and the venues are separated by thousands of Kilometers. 
 # Do we really need the Games?

As Moody’s report pointed out, CWG created severe damage to the credibility of India’s ability to organize large events. It also created a hole in India’s financial system. Using that money we may be able to give at least three time meals to the under nutritioned child’s of India; for infrastructure development; for new schools; for basic research. We may be able to buy much more fighter planes for IAF than we could ever imagine (the number of new generations planes in Indian Air Force is in an alarmingly low level. It’s better not to talk about the aviation wing of Indian Navy). We may also be able to buy some more sub marines (or construct new ones) for Indian Navy or new tanks for Army.

# Let’s also look in to the problem in another perspective,

It is also possible that many of these problems – like cleanliness – are more hyped than actually it was. It is obvious that the rooms will not be handed over to athletes in such condition, but there is no justification for such a scenario at this point of time -Organizing committee got seven years to complete the work. The flood waters also didn’t help the games in anyway. Problems like the collapse an over bridge is not so uncommon during construction scenarios – it got much attention now as it happened in the last moment and done in a mad rush to complete the things. No one will care a damn about it if that happened some three years back.

What about the safety? Suddenly Delhi becomes unsafe for living, and many countries have second thoughts of coming to India due to safety reasons. It’s interesting to note that - it was not long back Australians are assuring Indians every now and then that Australia is a safe country to live, Canada was perplexed on what to do with the ‘Kanishka (An Air Indian Flight) bombing’ and subsequent reports, it was not long time back when terrorists attacked London. But these are not justifications for the photos of CWG venues uploaded in BBC, CNN and in many other news portals.

# Aftereffects:

Even in the wildest of imaginations one can’t justify the amount of money flowing in to this event. Certainly the overspend, waterlogged, incomplete, broken over bridges, dirty games villages, and the n number of corruption scandals made the CWG, one the great disasters for India. Only Hamilton (India beat this Canadian city to host the 2010 game) and terrorists – who even after the nonstop action of decades failed to make considerable damage to India – can laugh at this moment. Will anything happen after the CWG games? I don’t think so, after the games government may announce that the CWG 2010 was an extraordinary event and a proof for India’s ability to conduct multinational sporting events - All is well!!! It’s curious to know, how many are considering the next Olympics in India?


[All the images are taken from dailymail uk]


  1. Good post Sajeev. May we ask your permission to re-post this on All credit and link will be given to you.

    Carmela Mendoza

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