Whether the Public Private Partnership (PPP), for the upkeep of the Commonwealth Games stadiums, was a prudent scheme can be debated, but the now-defunct plan has cost the exchequer a whopping Rs 60 lakh.
A brainchild of former sports minister, MS Gill, the scheme envisaged engaging the private sector for the management and operation of stadiums post-CWG. On this basis, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) signed a contract with Feedback Ventures for Rs 84 lakh in February 2010.
A change of guard in the ministry meant the new incumbent, Ajay Maken, came in with his set of ideas. The PPP was not among them. As a result, SAI terminated the contract. By the time the paperwork was completed, SAI had paid Feedback Ventures Rs 16 lakh and bills worth Rs 32 lakh are pending. Apart from this, Rs 10 lakh has been spent by SAI and the ministry on matters related to the project. “The contract with Feedback Ventures has been terminated but we have to pay them for the work they've undertaken till the time of termination," said a senior SAI official, requesting anonymity. "Had the decision to maintain the stadiums on our own come two-three months later, we would have to pay the entire amount of Rs 84 lakh. At least, we have saved Rs 36 lakh," he added.
“From Day One, I was clear there would not be PPP for CWG stadiums and we were going to maintain them on our own,” Maken told HT on Thursday. On the money already spent, the minister said, “I have no idea.”
Last year, Feedback Ventures had submitted a report, and a decision was taken to start a two-stage bid process — based on department of economic affairs and planning commission guidelines — for the selection of operators for the five stadiums. But like the PPP, the report too is gathering dust.