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BJP calls for transparency in CWG expenditure

By Onkar Singh
June 15, 2010 22:02 IST
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Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, senior vice-president of the Bhartiya Janata Party, has alleged that in the name of developing Delhi for the Commonwealth Games in October later this year, the development of certain individuals is becoming more visible.

Speaking to, Naqvi said the Government of India should step in and control the needless expenditure being incurred.

"When the Games were given to India, Suresh Kalmadi claimed that the total expenditure to stage it would be only Rs 1620 crores. In the name of staging the Games, and development of the city, what is visible is development of certain individuals who are key figures in hosting the Games.

"I am told that one NGO has released documents which prove that the total cost of the Games has already crossed Rs 10,000 crores and the figure could go up substantially. We will get the real picture once the Games are over and experts sit down to calculate the costs of holding the 15-day extravaganza," Naqvi alleged.

He criticised the Delhi government for "wasteful expenditure to make the city neat and clean for just 15 days".

"Roads which are already in good shape are being re-laid; pavements are being dug up and fresh red stones are replacing the old pavement coverings. This is downright atrocious," Naqvi said.

He appealed to the Union Government, headed by Primer Minister Manmohan Singh, to step in.

"After the Games are over the government must look into the manner the money was spent. There is dire need of transparency. Metro projects are being delayed so that the escalation of costs can be justified," he added.

The NGO he was referring to is Housing and Land Rights Network, Delhi. It has claimed that chairman of the Games organizing committee Suresh Kalmadi has gone on record saying the cost of the Games would only be Rs 1620 crores.

The figure quoted by Kalmadi though, the NGO claimed, is the loan the Organizing Committee has taken from various banks.

A recent report by HLRN, titled: 'The 2010 Commonwealth Games: Whose Wealth? Whose Commons?' brings to light various dimensions of the Games, including the social, economic and environmental costs.

'Mr. Kalmadi in his May 29 article attempts to counter the evidence presented in this report, which is based on extensive research, Right to Information (RTI) applications and government data. It is important to set the record straight,' Shivani Chaudhry, Associate Director, HLRN, and co-author of the report, said.

Kalmadi has claimed that the expenditure incurred so far would make Delhi a more classy megapolis.

But the NGO asked, 'Who is this 'classy city' being built for, and at what cost? What explains the human rights violations and grave social and environmental impacts that this has entailed?'

Naqvi said that his party had on numerous occasions pointed out examples of wasteful expenditure being incurred in the name of staging the Games but precious little has be done about it so far.

"It would be in the interest of the Delhi citizens if the central government clears the air," he said.

Interestingly, various figures are being mentioned by various individuals.

Kalmadi's colleague V K Verma, Director General of the Commonwealth Games, cited a sum of Rs. 10,000 crore as the total cost of the Games in March this year.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS), headed by Dr M S Gill, provided a break-up of an estimated total cost of Rs. 11,494 crore on its website.

The MYAS allocation for CWG in the Union Budget for the years 2005-06 to 2010-11 is Rs. 6,423.5 crore, according to the statistics made available by the Union Government, Expenditure Budgets.

Dr A K Walia, finance minister in Sheila Dikshit's government, in his budget speech in March 2010 announced that the Delhi government's expenditure on infrastructure for the Games was Rs. 15,000 crore.

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Onkar Singh New Delhi

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