Commonwealth Games 2010: Are we ready?

The Commonwealth Games to be hosted by India in 2010 is going to have 5000 athletes participating from 53 countries. But sadly, one fears if we are ready for them. A lot of money has already been spent and much more is going to be lost in the whirlpool of corruption this time around.


When the Asian Games were hosted by India in 1982, it was a similar story. The politicians and administrators have a certain policy. It is fairly simple and easy to understand. Wait till the end, then loot and plunder. Let me elaborate this for you. When any major event is announced in this country, everybody pretends to be geared up for the challenge. They put up posters, placards etc. in prominent places in order to let everyone know what they’re up to.


However, even though they ‘plan’, somehow they fail to ‘execute’. In simpler words, when the budget and expenditure is worked out during the early stages, the final expenditure seems to be soaring high above the earlier planned limit. The reason is that every step of the agenda is procrastinated till the last minute. Case in point; the construction of the Commonwealth Games Village on the Yamuna river bed. The ground on which it was challenged was that it could harm the ecological system of the Yamuna riverbed.


The High Court was contemplating whether to pass a stay order on the construction. Surprisingly, it took them eight months to make up their minds. And laughably, the two judges, who even though had heard the matter together, delivered verdicts separately, one after the other. After a lot of money, time and energy was wasted over futile litigation, (the Supreme court quashed High Court orders) the construction is now again in progress.


Apart from the fact that this careless attitude by our justice system could have seriously jeopardized our chances to hold the Commonwealth Games in the first place, it has again projected India as being a laidback country which is; let’s face it, not one of the most dependable ones.


The outcome of this delay is going to result in a flurry of activity in the last few months before the Commonwealth Games, where everybody involved is going to make sure that the work is done. So what if it takes a little more money from the Government fund? Norms can be relaxed now. The important thing is to make sure everything is ready. Corruption thrives at this point. And so, in the midst of all the confusion, everybody nicks an extra buck or two, and when the final day arrives, they bask in the glory of the ‘success’ of the event, with bright big smiles on their faces. They make sure to include the Games in all their campaign speeches during elections, of course.


One wishes and hopes that at least this time, India rolls up its sleeves, and makes sure that everything goes smoothly, in time, and ‘according to plans’.



Smita Rajmohan



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