When work on the Commonwealth Games began in 2006 the mega budget was Rs 22,000 crore. Four years later the budget is Rs 30,000 crore. It has swollen by nearly 40 per cent forcing the Delhi government to increase taxes and roll back crucial subsidies.
All projects have been delayed, primarily the Commonwealth Village, which had a budget of Rs 465 crore in 2004 and now Rs 1400 crore, losses have occurred also because many apartments remained unsold. The government was forced to buy them off contractors. The budget for 11 stadiums was Rs 1200 crore in 2004, it has risen to Rs 5000 crore and the government still huffing and puffing its way to meet the deadline. Work on flyovers was altered mid-way several times and now the budget: Rs 1,650 crore. Streetscaping is another unplanned expenditure with a budget of Rs 1,000 crore. Security too has been an added expenditure with a budget of Rs 370 crore, but that's because of the terror scare that has pitched in recent times.
The list is exhaustive………in a bid to develop Delhi for the games, the government forgot one very small entity called the ‘common man’.
They claim to have done all this and more not only for the games but with a thought of giving Delhi and the ‘Delhites’ a world class city and infrastructure but with such callously spent money and resources for a 13 day event surely has made ‘Delhi-light’ from its pockets.
While on my way back home one late evening in the new DTC high capacity low floor buses with AC (bling bling!!) with comfortable seats (bling * 3!!) and automatic doors (bling * 4!!!!) I could not help overhear someone comparing the Asiad games to CWG 2010. "After the Asiad Games it took them 25 years to sell off the players' buildings. It took them 20 years to sell off the Asiad Village. For these games, my guess is it will take them 40 years to break even.” He said.
My take is that the amount of money the government has spent (read pocketed) on the games was much more (tempting) than the amount they could have had access to (again read pocketed) in their government’s 5 year tenure considering such hue and cry and their constant ’efforts’ to make Delhi a better place for ‘all’. With money being spent like the aam adami’s sweat and blood (cant compare to water….that’s a luxury now days) on anything with CWG attached the Games which should seem to have brought with them happiness seem forced and subjected to in the current scenario.
Shera the CWG mascot is an office boy at Organizing Committee’s office
With its very act of making an office boy do double the work as a clerk in the morning feeding the hard working (pun intended) Organizing Committee workers with tea and snacks and in the evening donning the 10 kg mascot dress, the government has made its intentions, of double jacking everybody’s life in the city, quite clear. ( pic taken by Bharat Joshi)
While the other day travelling in our world renowned auto rickshaw to office (with the auto wala agreeing to travel by meter) I read a couple of graffiti’s at the recently carpeted moolchand underpass (now 4 fatalities old) in English, question the Games’ focus. It read “Pro-rich anti-poor CWG sucks” and “I hope the Games are a disaster”.
Is digging and redigging up pavements and building and rebuilding them a good use of resources? Flyovers may help the cars zip by, but lack of infrastructure and funds in schools and abysmal condition of sanitation in the city haven’t seen much Common man’s Wealth come their way.
Though one cannot argue that no expenditure is justifiable till poverty is eliminated but it needs to be asked if the infrastructure boom in the run-up to the Games middle-class or aam aadami centric or Does the graffiti draw attention to something other than itself?
- Bharat Joshi, Imprimis PR