Journalistically speaking, 'to let the cat out among the pigeons" is an act of courage. Congress politician Mani Shankar Aiyar did just that when he said he would be happy if the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) to be held in New Delhi was unsuccessful.
What and why he said so is not as relevant as what unraveled post his statement. It is as if a can of worms has been unleashed. Virtually every media organization in India is today breaking news on irregularities of CWG. Social media is buzzing with snide remarks and intended pun.
Here are some of the issues and scandals that have marred CWG:
- Stadia has rainwater seepage
- Railways seek clarification on fund utilization from Olympic Committee
- NGOs demand CAG probe into SC/ST fund diversion
- Children's basic rights violated at CWG sites
- Exorbitant taxi fares for CWG function
- Squandering away Rs 35K crore
- Treadmills rented at Rs 10 lakh
- Chairs rented at Rs 9000
The list goes on… As this is getting published on the web, more irregularities are getting unearthed by the enthusiastic and alert Indian media. The Government appears to be taking some measures by suspending officials and contracts already awarded.
At this juncture, it is important to understand what is significant about the 2010 edition of the Commonwealth Games for India. It is billed as the largest multi-sport event ever conducted in Delhi (consequently in India as well) surpassing the Asian Games hosted in 1982. CWG is being held in India for the first time and only the second time in Asia after Malaysia in 1998. Prestigious in many ways indeed!
It is not new in India to see the political system behave more like squanderers than guardian angels of the country. Several instances in the past support this argument. Corruption is an age old political trick and strategy of politicians in the country.
It is unfortunate that neither do they realize they are fooling the tax payers and playing with their money nor that it will not be good for India"s brand image. These are marketing disasters that can have a cascading effect on the country"s reputation.
Contrast this to China which is hosting the 16th Asian Games in Nov 2010. The Chinese city of Guangzhou is fully prepared to host the games a good 3 months ahead of the scheduled commencement of the Games.
Not to forget the aplomb with which South Africa hosted the World Cup Football recently and how the world was in full praise of the host nation. It takes little time for the world to drub us as a large country seeped in corruption and inefficiency and not capable of hosting such prestigious international events.
Watching South Africa host the World Cup in a spectacular manner my son asked me will India ever get to host World Cup Football. My reply then was half-hearted "May be".
Last few days of unraveling of mess in CWG and now my response is an emphatic, “We should not, until we get our house in order!"
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*The views expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oneindia.in or of Greynium Information Technologies Pvt Ltd. *