Is the Money Worth Spending?

Amidst commercial and economic developments and measures, there are a few new avenues that are catching global attention. Sports is one of them. Though it has been in the contention for quite some time, but it has mainly been the heart of the leisurely-mood people, or the ones who could manage leisure out of their work. People generally took up games and sports as the best means to relax after some grueling periods of work. This also has been the trend of the metropolitan society in the last few decades. But along with other norms of our lives, this tradition also has undergone great changes.

Sporting has become one of the most viewed and participated actions across the world and progressively more nations are taking sports and games more seriously than the Greek took the first Olympics. National earning is extravagantly flooded into the sports sector to harness and groom new talents, to develop the level of games in the nation and to build competent teams, potent to take up other nations and come out victorious. Separate departments in ministries have been set up to look after this area. And rather more recently, there has been widespread interest within the domain of games, interests ranging from violent outdoor battles to quiet indoor confrontations.

With the growth in the varieties of games being played worldwide, the Olympics committee has been roping in more and more games every few editions. This year’s Olympics in China was an outstanding example of the sporting fever and was displayed in the most extraordinary styles. The planning and investment from the Chinese government helped the games see levels of mastery and finesse unprecedented. The inauguration itself laid the stones for an incomparable month-long venture. This Olympics went miles ahead of all others till date in terms of popularity and successes, both of sporting concern and political nature. It saw the coming together of all the great powers of the world in a harmonious environment. Therein lies the greatness of sports; it brings all friends and foe at the same levels and forces congregations that would not have been possible otherwise.

Riding on the Chinese story of success and perfection, the Indian sporting fraternity is also enthused to host the Commonwealth Games next year. It has sufficient reasons to claim from the government resources in abundance to stand up to the levels of perfection displayed by our neighboring competitor. Already, planning and reconstruction has begun on mass scale in the capital city to portray world-class facilities, and agreeably so. Crores of rupees are being generously granted for various activities that could ensure that India not only hosts the games but also bags the medals in dominating proportions. Roads and other facilities are being upgraded and other recreational amenities are meticulously being explored and being designed for the visitors from various nations. Another huge amount is being invested in training and practices of the players, which is the most important part and cannot be overlooked in any case.

As far as the legitimacy of the issue is concerned, it is indubitably required if India is to match the global standards. But the fundamental question that stands up is whether all the expenditure is affordable given the instability of the national and global economy. A few examples would help to draw a consensus. The Bird’s Nest of the Olympics fame was hailed as one of the most marvelous feats of achievements in the league of stadiums and served unforgettable experiences throughout the duration of the game. Audiences across the world will remember it for its grandeur and aesthetic magnificence. But weeks after the games, the colossus stood haunted by silence and disinterest. The Chinese population themselves have forgotten the road to the stadium by now, let alone the world. Instead what it has left is a bruising memento of national expense in scales never seen before. Though it was a perfect site for the games but its future remains questionable as no other game can possibly be held in it without reconstructions. It cannot expect to have audiences to fill the seats for local games of any nature, and the maintenance costs would always soar above the earnings from the tickets and other revenues. All the work will have to re-thought of, and something concrete would have to be built out of it in order that it may not perish with time. So what’s all the spending for, in the first place? To rebuild it, all over again? It makes one question all the effort and money that went into making it.

Similar questions confront us in the wake of the Commonwealth Games due next season. Even if we manage to erect something of global standards to suit the games and suffice all needs of the players, what after it? No other event in India, or for that matter in China, is so magnanimous that it can draw crowds to fill seats of international stadiums. There are absolutely no ends to the reconstructed sites for these games and events and each has to be rebuilt or redesigned in order to meet the local needs.

So is all the national money, built out of the pennies of the poor and the rich, through taxes and other measures, so basal that they can be allowed to be flown for one event? When on one hand, common man is struggling each day to cope with the hike in prices in almost every commodity of daily use, is it worthy to spend this money as easily and generously as this? Especially when there are other areas in the country that deserve government attention and investment more seriously. Is the plight of farmers reeling in pain and suffering along the microscopic landscapes of India so meek that it can’t draw any relief, after years of assurances? Neither is the standard of life in India so high that a majority is able to afford tickets to such international events. The bulk of the people are dying for the want of food. Under such pressing circumstances is it worth the investment?

Arindham Chakroborty

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