Fate of R38-crore giant balloon hangs in limbo | india | Hindustan Times
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Fate of R38-crore giant balloon hangs in limbo

india Updated: Oct 08, 2010 02:09 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta

The Rs 38-crore aerostat - the giant helium balloon that lit up the Games opening ceremony- is becoming a big headache for the Organising Committee.

Unable to decide what to do with the aerostat, after it makes its last appearance at the Games during the closing ceremony, OC CEO Jarnail Singh shot off a letter to Rahul P. Bhatnagar, joint secretary (International sports Division), sports ministry on October 7.

He asked the ministry to decide what should be done with the helium balloon and other items such as the expensive kitchen equipment at the Games Village kitchen, computers, television and furniture.

"We have requested the sports ministry to decide. These items were bought for the OC. But once the Games are over, the OC will be wound up and these items won't be of any use. The government has to decide what is to be done and whether or not it wants to auction the stuff," said an OC official.

Though the OC is not too worried about other items, its main concern is the aerostat.

“Some senior OC officials are of the view that it should be sold. But we are not sure if it would find any buyers because of the huge cost. Also, it does not have any practical usage,” said an OC official.

OC officials also fear that the aerostat's resale value might also go down after the inner parts of the balloon got damaged by heavy rains that lashed Delhi a week before the Games.

So now, the OC has put the onus on the Centre to come up with a solution. "We have told the sports ministry that as the aerostat was purchased from the R1,620-crore budget that the OC took from the government as loan to organise the Games. As the OC is not in a position to repay the loan because the Games is not going to be revenue neutral as was expected earlier, these equipment automatically become government's property. So, it has to decide what it wants to do with it," said an OC official.