Common "Wealth" Games

Friday, July 30, 2010

Global recession couldn’t slow down corruption and people involved with the CWG-Delhi seem to have made the most of it. As per the investigations by CVC that has X-rayed 16 Commonwealth Games projects, there is brazen corruption and inefficiency in the handling of the Games in India. What was seen as an opportunity for India to showcase the strides it has made in the global arena, has only helped in exposing India’s dirty underbelly that smacks of corruption.

Having said that, there are several aspects to the hosting of the Commonwealth Games in India and the need is to look at everything from Suresh Kalmadi’s eyes rather than Mani Shankar Iyer’s. Even though Transparency International rates us at 84 (where no 1 stands for the least corrupt country) among all nations on the corruption index, let us take some solace in the fact that the ranking is still better than our FIFA ranking.

All black behind the white veil!

I have been a witness to the change that Delhi has undergone for the games and I pay my taxes. That gives me a license to give my two cents on the positives that have come out of the game. So, here I go!

Delhi got the much needed facelift: A swanky new airport terminal, metro rail, flyovers, wider roads and wider pavements. Do you need more? If you are asking for a cure to your day-to-day problems such as growing price rises, water scarcity, electricity problems, worsening law and order situation and the herculean task of curbing corruption, aren’t you being a bit inconsiderate? Facelift, as the word suggests, stands for cosmetic changes. Chennai doesn’t need it until it has Rajni to keep them happy, Mumbai is in desperate need for it, Kolkata can only crave for it, Delhi got it! That’s a reason enough to rejoice. Worried about the pile of rubble out on the streets? Won’t your life be void without them?

Here's presenting 'The Man of the Moment'

The Man, The Mission, The Kalmadi: Suresh Kallu Kalmadi has been a high flyer quite literally right from his early days. If General Musharraf could rise to the rank of becoming the President of Pakistan after fighting in a losing cause for his nation in 1965 and 1971, Kalmadi, who fought and won against Pakistan twice in 1965 and 71, has every right to spend the rest of his life atleast as the Indian Olympic Association President. Notwithstanding charges of corruption, malpractices, incompetence, Kalmadi continues to rule the roost. Such is the enormity of his stature that even an ‘M’ consortium comprising of Sports Minister MS Gill, Former Sports Minister Mani Shankar Iyer, CGF President Mike Fennell and CGF CEO Michael Hooper couldn’t harm him despite repeated attacks. I am sure that with Kalmadi at the helm, India can hope for bigger achievements in future. There is a rumor doing the rounds that Kalmadi may bid for the 2020 Olympics on his own after having amassed considerable clout to conduct it in individual capacity.

Money well spent: For all those people crying hoarse about mismanagement of funds and overspending, take a chill pill. The outcome of CWG spending is much better than the glitzy money garlands that Mayawati wears on her birthdays. The amount spent is a pittance in comparison to the 2G scam.

The CVC report talks about poor quality material used in construction projects and irrational decisions being taken without proper thought going into them. Who needs quality anyways? For a nation that struggles hard to make ends meet and doesn’t guarantee its citizens the access to resources, something is better than nothing at all.

Let us also not get into the debate of asking whether India should host events such as these or spend on uplifting the poor. We are rich enough to drain the money down any corruption channel. CWG is just one of them. Had it not been CWG, it could very well have gone wasted through some other misappropriation in the name of education, telecom or health. Why cry over the spilt milk that would anyways have turned sour?

India’s best shot at winning medals: Someone rightly said that CWG are the Shahid Kapoor of International sports. A lot of buzz but no substance to back it up. The Kalmadi factor and security threat together have combined to make sure that top atheletes stay away from the games for good. The positive out of it – India gets its best shot to win some more medals and that gives us a chance to go Jai Ho! True we have winners like Saina Nehwal, Abhinav Bindra and Vijender Singh in our ranks but a little more doesn’t harm anyone!

...and thus spake Suresh Nostradamus Kalmadi

On a more serious note, in a country that lacks civic sense and where the people don’t think twice before breaking laws and then paying bribes to escape being booked for the same, the CWG is just a reflection of the culture. That is why no one seems to care. Corruption is a way of life for us and so is the reluctance to accept our follies and improve. Everyone has his own agenda here. So, we have the disenchanted people taking no pride in the hosting of an international event that supposedly has the country’s pride at stake, an egotist Mani Shankar Iyer praying for a failed CWG and a Suresh Kalmadi posing defiant despite obvious wrongdoings in the management of the games.

With less than 65 days to go, it’s probably not the right time to debate the relevance of a Mani Shankar Iyer or a Suresh Kalmadi. The success or the failure of the games will be attributed to the city that we all are a part of. Sadly, it may all turn out to be a blot on the face of Delhi. Hope it doesn't come down to that.


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