Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s promise to act against anyone indulging in corruption in the Commonwealth Games preparations may have settled the dust for a while but people believe the issue has certainly tainted the country’s image internationally.
In a survey by AZ Research, a Bengaluru-based research company, on what does India feel about the controversies surrounding the Commonwealth Games 2010, 53% respondents said the media expose of corruption, delay and sub-standard construction has done a serious harm to the country's image.
The research group interviewed 5,100 Indians in several urban centres including the four metropolitans and bigger cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow, Patna, Raipur, Vijaywada, Kochi and Guwahati.
While the Congress Party was seen trying to disassociate with the Games' Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who is in the thick of controversies, the survey respondents believed that he is not the only one to be blamed for corruption. “People believe that the sports ministry, the ministry of urban development, the organising committee and the Delhi government have equal share in the corruption. Suresh Kalmadi, however, tops the table,” said Sujay Misra, managing director, AZ Research.
More than 7,500 athletes and delegates from 71 participating countries are reaching Delhi to participate in the sporting extravaganza to be held in the Capital from October 3 to October 14, 2010.
Seventy three per cent of the participants felt that the government has spent more than double on organising the event and that the costs have gone up because the corrupt officials made unrealistic budget initially.
But despite so many controversies, 65% respondents believed that India would be ready to host the Games will within time.