Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Still the fall out from the Commonwealth Games continues...

Here's an article from "The Age" newspaper about the Indian government's auditor's report on the Games:

Uproar in parliament over Indian Games fiasco

Ben Doherty
August 10, 2011

"Due dilligence was conspicuously absent" ... a new report has condemned Delhi's 2010 Commonwealth Games. Photo: Jason South

NEW DELHI: India's calamitous Commonwealth Games last year cost 15 times initial estimates, running up a $US4.1 billion ($4.05 billion) bill against a $US270 million first budget, the country's auditor has found.

A new report to Parliament said preparations for the Games were deeply corrupted, tainted by favouritism and ran hugely over budget.

The 744-page report, which has not been released publicly but has been widely leaked, also said a quarter of tickets went unsold and that three times as many tickets were given away as at previous Games. The event made only $38 million in revenue.

And the imbroglio over the Games - intended to be a display of India's status as an emerging global superpower but marred by delays, cost overruns and a bridge collapse - has caught up two of the country's most senior politicians, with opposition parties turning on the office of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit.

The report found the Games boss, Suresh Kalmadi - who is now in jail facing a raft of corruption charges - was appointed by order of the Prime Minister's office despite ''serious objections'' from others in government.

It also found Ms Dikshit cost the government $US7.8 million by insisting the Games used imported street lighting in Delhi. ''Her 'active involvement' in luminaries [street lights] were imported at far higher cost than the domestic ones.''

The entire Games preparations were shambolic and wasteful, the report found. ''The modus operandi … was: inexplicable delays in decision-making, which put pressure on timelines and thereby led to the creation of an artificial or consciously created sense of urgency.''

Games contracts were awarded at exorbitant rates, often without any competition or bidding process.

''Appropriate due diligence was conspicuously absent at all levels.''

The Indian parliament's monsoon session descended into chaos on the back of the report.

Both houses were adjourned on Monday and yesterday as opposition parliamentarians disrupted proceedings, haranguing the speaker and yelling across the chamber.

The largest opposition party, the BJP, has demanded the resignation of Ms Dikshit, who does not sit in the national Parliament but is a member of the ruling Congress party. She has refused.

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