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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2678

Let’s start working on the games!

By Ramu Sharma - Syndicate Features

India has made a successful if also a costly bid for the Commonwealth Games of 2010. That is a fact. But beyond that there is a big question mark. Will Delhi be ready in time for the event? Though four years are left and there does occasionally appear some news in the media about the preparations afoot, contradictions seem to be the theme of the progress report.

What the public has gleaned from the reports is that the President and the Secretary General of the Indian Olympic Association have distinctly varying views on the progress made while the Group of Ministers with the Sports Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyer being the most vocal, is highly critical of the budget estimate. The Minister and the rest of the group want the budget to be halved. The reasons advanced may sound very rational but appear to be political in nature. Perhaps the minister and the other concurring politicians have forgotten the fundamental rule about budget estimates for big events. They are never reduced. They are invariably doubled and more!

It is unfortunate that there are so many different voices at this stage of preparations. Why should the President and Secretary General of the IOA speak in different voices? And it is a bit too late for Mani Shankar Aiyar and his fellow ministers to talk about the budget estimates. They should have done it much earlier, at the initial stages itself. Maybe Aiyar was not around then, holding a different portfolio. But he could have studied the report before taking charge of the new office with its commitments.

This is not the first time that such disagreements on a major project have been made public. It was there even when India was preparing for the Asian Games in 1982. Fortunately, then things were smoothed out in time and the Games, despite minor aberrations, were a major success.

The Commonwealth Games, one hopes, will be a success but apart from the work on projects, much will depend on the information given to the media. And that can be effective but if only there was just one voice giving the progress or otherwise report periodically.

The Government and its agencies involved with the preparation should hand over all publicity and other material to the Press Information Bureau, forming a special Commonwealth Games cell headed by a competent person who can also speak fluently. And his/hers should be the only voice detailing the progress to the media at a monthly briefing.

At the moment, far too many voices are heard and most of them don’t make much sense. In fact, the vibes are distinctly negative.

Differences of opinion on the many aspects of a major production will always be there. In fact, it is a healthy sign. But the ultimate aim should always be kept in mind.

Unfortunately sometimes, in this country particularly, minor disagreements often tend to be magnified and the main issue pushed behind. That should not be allowed to happen in this case.

The Commonwealth Games is the biggest project, bigger even than the Asian Games, ever undertaken by this country. It is not the medals which India hopes to win that will matter. What is important is how the Games are conducted, the efficiency level of the organization.

The IOA and the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee should bear this in mind always.

- Syndicate Features -

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