Commonwealth Games: A matter of embarrassment for India
Jay Hind | 04 Oct 2010
Prestige of India more or less has suffered a jolt due to the shoddy preparation of Commonwealth Games by the organising committee headed by Suersh Kalmadi. News within the country and abroad is dotted with 'shame games'.
COMMONWEALTH GAMES is expected to turn into Pandora's Box after the recently concluded inaugration ceremony held in New Delhi. On the very next day, glitches were found in various aspects of conducting the game which also included technical as well as post per day game schedule.
All these allegations are creating many uncontrollable situations and causing great troubles to the organising committee and no doubt ‘big shame’ to the nation. Prestige of India is at stakes more or less and has suffered a jolt due to the shoddy preparation of the Games by the Organising Committee headed by Suresh Kalmadi and Games Village construction chief - Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit. The substandard preparations and more the irrational approach of organising committee has debunked Indian functioning often marred with bureaucratic tangles, indispensable corruption and unprecedented delays.
The poor performance on each front by the organising committee has bolstered the opinion that the country can’t ever be viewed as a progressive, dynamic and modern economic giant. Rather, the world sees India as a country still challenged with corruption, ineptitude, overwrought bureaucracy, substandard infrastructures, collapsing of structures, inferior quality, sloppy and inadequate security, massive tampering of papers and tenders, serious overlooking of legal boundaries, mishandling of public funds and properties, purchase/hiring at overrates, child labour, forced labour, many deaths at construction sites, large scale demolition of slums to drive poor out of the city, exploitation of labourers and poor, displacement of thousands of families and eviction of vendors without proper compensation, etc.
News within the country and abroad is dotted with ‘shame games’ displayed by the organising committee and for past fortnight not an hour has missed news of miseries associated with organisation of Commonwealth Games. Delhi version of CWG has earned various misnomers like ‘Common Woe Games’, ‘Common Loot Games’, ‘Shame Games’, ‘Common Shame’, ‘Corrupt Games’, etc.
Daily media-coverage of CWG from all over the world is inundated with news of corruption and substandard facilities in CWG. If someone will recall Delhi version of CWG, corruption, dengue outbreak (3000 cases), poor security (with nil for Indians), dirty athletes village (filthy and unlivable where dogs, snakes, litters are common), poor facilities around CWG, break-down of structures, floods and water-logging, price-rise, and child labour are associated features which needless to say have seriously tarnished the country'sstature in front of the global media as well as the countries who have pulled out from the event due to various underlying reasons.
The shocking part of the Delhi version of CWG is that the budget for the Games has stretched from US 400 million dollar (Rs 1800 crore) to US 6 billion dollar (Rs 28,000 crore), although a local body - the Hazards Centre - believes the total cost is about US 11.8 billion dollar (Rs 55000 crore) while the Supreme Court has questioned the amount of Rs 70,000 crores being spent for organising the Games and is irked by the audacious and rampant corruption cultivated by the Commonwealth Games.
The development in the past seven years in Delhi has driven out 350,000 street vendors and on large scale, slums have been razed down. Chief Minister Sheila Dixit realistically stated few months back that after the Games, Delhi will have 30 lakhs homeless who are migrant labourers and have worked day and night to complete the development works for the CWG.
The eviction of hundreds of thousands of poor are carried out for the sake of city's beautification and urban renewal measures to turn Delhi into a 'world class city'. Thousands of homes have been reduced to rubble for bringing multi-storied car parks on the site and road-improvement. Motorways and hotels are being built on the seized lands as part of a major transformation of Delhi for the XII Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games have brought nothing good. It has only caused destruction. Some 18,000 Dalits were forcibly removed from their homes by the authorities to make way for stadiums and new roads. Right to Information Act by an NGO - the Housing and Land Rights Network - revealed that more than 700 crore rupees allocated to lift underprivileged low caste communities out of poverty which were diverted to fund games-related projects. An estimated 150,000 homeless people in Delhi sleep every night under flyovers and on pavements at the verge of many miseries ranging from intermittent rain, bites of disease-carrying mosquitoes, driven-out by authorities, to death caused by uncontrolled reckless driving by untrained creams of the city.
The city is in chaos. An event that was supposed to be used as showbiz to the world that India was an emerging superpower – showcasing Delhi as a world class metropolis fit for the international spotlight – is verging on becoming a national embarrassment, due to waves of human rights violations and a seemingly endless number of scandals. Traffic with millions of vehicles in the city is made to suffer due to rigorous traffic restrictions and introduction of Games lanes are already over-burdened lanes.
Security checks and other restrictions around the venues and in the city also are causing immense difficulties and school-colleges have been shut off. Work in offices is being disturbed due to the Games. By some attempts, authorities are considering a ban on auto-rickshaws around venues, in a bid to ease traffic congestion, which would deprive some of the 55,000 drivers of their meager income for some two weeks.
Already thousands of Blue Line buses have been taken off the roads for easy movements of traffic but to distress millions of commuters who do not have alternative choices to bear overrated taxi/auto-rickshaws. However, the city has already had shortage of thousands of buses to cope with massive population.
Delhi hopes that its tourist industry would benefit greatly from hosting such a prestigious sporting event but it appears that many people have decided to stay away, with hotels reporting a marked shortfall in expected tourists due to fears over security, and a serious outbreak of dengue fever which is also threatening to scare off athletes and fans.
Many reports have conceded that the Games will be exploited as opportunities for boom of sex-market in Delhi which will spread at overpriced rates where authorities are in gloves with the escort-agencies from different parts of the world. While China impressed the world with the Beijing Olympics and has already prepared six months in advance for the coming Asian Games, India’s preparation for CWG, in contrast, suffers lurches at each front, does not meet international standards and is threatened with calls of ‘switching off’ the Games which all lead to colossal embarrassment and encumber the nation with ‘big shame’.
Indians abroad are already facing unwanted questions/remarks and humiliated as poor in work-performance. Some cases of racial attacks have been reported from Australia in the aftermath of CWG mess. Rest of the country which is not associated with the CWG at all also has to bear the brunt of this shameful event.