I just do not understand, like Shekhar Gupta here, why everyone has their IOC thongs in a bunch about the CommonWealth Games. I just do not get it.
The essential mistake that people are making is that they see the CWG in terms of rupees and paise, profit and loss. Which is why they are rolling their eyes at the hundreds of crores (or is it thousands—-I guess in my excitement I forgot) that has been siphoned off by various principals. What these ignoramuses should realize is that hosting the CWG is an expression of national pride. I mean honestly what could be a greater statement of pure “We have arrived” Chak-De-Indianess than hosting the Commonwealth Games, an event that dwarfs the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in terms of international significance, second only in prestige to perhaps the SAAF Games, the Afro-Asian Games and the Sanjay Gandhi Khokho Championship. Come on, people, this is the friggin Commonwealth we are taking about, the world’s most premier club of nations defined as a fellowship formed by the colonies of a country which is now a colony of Bangladesh and all you care about is whether proper procedures for tenders were followed and whether crores have vanished.
If we even put aside the national pride thing, let us just spend a moment on the so-called outrages that has consumed so much print in the last few weeks. As an example, let us consider the 43 lacs pots bought by the CWG committee for 30 crores. What a marvelous idea sirji it would be to recreate that song from Himmatwala, the one where Jeetendra and Sridevi danced in front of a Dalian landscape of thousands and thousands of earthen pots, at the CWG venue where athletes in white shoes ala Jeetendra would do a hop-skip-and-jump (again ala Jeetendra) to the tune of “Ta Thaiyya Ta Thaiyya Ho….Dhum tana tana……” while Jyoti Devi, the irate MP, would faces like Sridevi. Thirty crores for this delight? You betcha.
Or let us look at the whole AC/treadmill thing. The CWG paid a trifling 4 lacs per AC and 9 lacs per treadmill, to rent them at many many times the cost it would have taken to buy them outright. There was of course a perfectly innocent explanation as to why these things were so darn expensive. [Link]
The Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Kalmadi told NDTV that the money spent on overlays is lower than what the FIFA world cup spent on the same costs.
“The overlays are under reasonable limits. Off hand, I can tell you, the costs which you are referring to are of bedroom-size air conditioners. These are much bigger ACs. Also, the treadmills are all imported from Germany. They come with a technician and two months of service, so all those costs are included,” says Kalmadi.
Bed-room sized ACs. But of course ! They can double up as bedrooms too. And did you see the treadmill deal? It is expensive because it comes with a German technician (since treadmills cannot be fixed by Indians—-again a national pride issue here and because every treadmill needs its own German technician huddled up near the motor). This is exactly why the pots were so expensive also since each came with its own Harry Potter.
I don’t want to get into details here (just like Kalmadi) but every supposed act of omission and most importantly commission that has been pinned on him and his cronies, like hiring a posse of luxury vehicles even Puff Daddy would find extravagant, has a perfectly honest rationale. Unfortunately people tend to misconstrue these explanations which is why the Delhi government, in their sagacity, back in 2006 had asked for a pre-emptive exemption from a CVC probe—-since nothing slows down work more than accountability and transparency.
And what amazing work it has been—–the swimming pools dont have water, the places that are supposed to be dry are overflowing, the games are a few orders of magnitude over budget and nothing has been finished. Perfect.
Have some people made some money here and there? Perhaps. But again as Sekhar Gupta said in IE, “bade bade games main aise chote chote baatein hote hi rahete hai Senorita” and so there is no need for this Munni badnaam hui insanity that has gripped the nation.
As a tier one nation we need to have a more holistic approach towards extra-legal gratification.We need to understand that honorary appointees of sports boards deserve their honorariums. Expecting the standards of the 70s and the 80s when incentives were limited to foreign junkets and study-tours in which wives and children would be accommodated as delegates would be naive and unfair. Remember there was a time when a scandal like Bofors could make a government fall. Now the Kodas and the Reddys and the Telgis have raised our collective standard of corruption tolerance so much that if you cannot steal a crore a day, you are an idiot.
Given that, one should not grudge these dedicated lovers-of-sport, who fight elections to sports-bodies like dogs for bones, their crumbs of the pie.
Or at the very least a roll of 89 dollars toiletpaper