"when one in three Indians lives below the poverty line and 40% of the hungry live in India, when 46% of India's children and 55% of women are malnourished, does spending billions of dollars on a 12-day sports event build national pride or is it a matter of national shame? These were the words of Miloon Kothari, a leading Indian expert on socio-economic development, questioning the need of India to hold such a mega event like CWG. CWG touted as a capstone in carrying forward the legacy of 'India Shinning' has been bugged with bundle of controversies right from beginning. Infamous statement that 'BUCK STOPS AT MY OFFICE' by Suresh kalmadi, former Joint Director of Common Wealth Games, reflects the unfolding of one of the biggest scam in India.
Glitz, glamour and the hype created around CWG is only one side of the story. It is an undeniable fact that we Indians were proud to showcase an applauding performance throughout the event. It gave us a satisfaction of showcasing the entire world our power, strength and culture. However, if one pierce the veil then all the camouflaging done by our official vanishes in the air. Sadly, CWG extravaganza went kaput even before its commencement and damaged the reputation of brand called India.
To start off, CWG was bound to come under scanner from various quarters as it had exceeded the initial budget of Rs 10000 crores and ended at a whopping amount of Rs 60000 crores. Myriad of reasons have been attributed for the failure of CWG which showcased ineptitude, incompetency of the officials dealing with the execution of the projects related to CWG, poor quality of the construction, joblessness, forced evictions and displacements, labor law violations, environmental damage and huge cost overruns. 'Aaram Work Culture' which thrives in Indian polity showed its consequences when the stadiums construction work was behind the schedule even two months before the commencement of CWG.
Corruption was just one aspect of the ongoing controversies plaguing the CWG. The Games Village, which was publicized as world-class, had come under scathing criticism for its uncleanliness and reptiles infested accommodations. The shadowy off-shore firms, forged emails, inexplicable payments to bogus companies and inflated bills only added woes to mammoth problems faced by Indian government. The state machinery failed to rehabilitate beggars, who were driven out of the city during the Games. Another cause of concern was poor spectators' response to the ongoing games and sponsorship being withdrawn in the midst of allegation of graft and mismanagement. Lack of training and paltry remuneration compelled copious volunteers to quit a week before the start of the game.
Due to paucity of time the functionality of sports equipments could not be checked which ended up in the competition being delayed. Indian media, along with international media, jumped on the bandwagon of India bashing and portrayed the story by showing only one side of the coin. To top it all threats from terrorist to disrupt the games coerced international athletes to withdraw from the games for security reasons.
However, in spite of glitches, it's never too late to learn from one's mistake. Instead of playing blame game, government should ensure that guilty are punished and corrective measures are taken to avoid such embarrassment in future.