This budget is going through the roof. Initial estimates to construct and renovate seven Sports Authority of India (SAI) stadia for the 2010 Commonwealth Games were pegged at around Rs 700 crore.
By 2006, the costs had swelled to Rs 1,000 crore.
On Friday, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister M.S. Gill revealed that the estimate had been revised to Rs 2,400 crore.
“The revised budget for the seven SAI stadia was upped from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,400 crore in the last Cabinet meeting of the previous government without a murmur. Money is not an issue,” Gill said.
The organising committee had indicated in January this year that the budget would increase in light of the global economic downturn. But a more than three-fold increase is way beyond expectations.
A look at the spiralling costs of one of the stadiums is a good indicator of the malaise.
The DDA-owned Siri Fort Complex has seen the budget go up from Rs 200 crore to Rs 300 crore. Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi acknowledged the increase. “For a world-class games, expenses are bound to happen.”
The sports body had erred in its estimates, said a DDA official on condition of anonymity. “The initial guidelines didn’t prove correct. So, after a review, we drafted a new limit for the complex, which is now reaching the 300 mark.”