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Commonwealth Games to cost you Rs 193 crore more

The losses incurred on the Commonwealth Games will be Rs 193 crore higher than estimated earlier, top government sources have revealed. Aloke Tikku reports. Costing the nation dear

delhi Updated: Oct 18, 2010 01:45 IST
Aloke Tikku

The losses incurred on the Commonwealth Games will be Rs 193 crore higher than estimated earlier, top government sources have revealed. The budget of the Games Organising Committee (OC), frequently touted at Rs 1,620 crore, was actually increased by Rs 193 crore four days before the Games began on October 3, the sources said.

With OC officials conceding the Games won't earn more than Rs 650 crore, losses are now pegged at Rs 1,163 crore.

"The amount will have to be written off as a bad debt, a price for the mismanagement and corruption," a government source said.

The Group of Ministers overseeing the Games — headed by Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy — granted the Rs 193 crore on September 29, after persistent requests from the OC.

"With this, the total approved loan to the OC will be enhanced to R1813.42 crore," a 'secret' note for the ministerial panel said.

The government had earlier refused similar requests but was cornered when, just before the Games were to start, the OC claimed there would be problems in delivering the event satisfactorily without the additional amount.

The decision to dole out the additional loan, funded by the public exchequer, was never made public.

The Commonwealth Games are not usually loss-making propositions. The 2006 Games in Melbourne earned Rs 2,400 crore, posting a profit of Rs 43.6 crore.

Earlier, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had put his foot down when the OC first requested a raise in the loan amount for 'spectacular' opening and closing ceremonies.

He agreed to allow the OC to spend Rs 300 crore on the ceremonies rather than the earmarked Rs 106 crore.

But he – and later the GoM – stipulated the increase would be met through reallocation of funds within the overall limit of Rs 1620 crore.