Settle pending bills: Europe envoys write to Pranab Mukherjee | india | Hindustan Times
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Settle pending bills: Europe envoys write to Pranab Mukherjee

The envoys of Britain and seven other European countries that are among India’s leading economic partners have written an unprecedented letter to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. Dipankar De Sarkar reports.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2011 01:04 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

The envoys of Britain and seven other European countries that are among India’s leading economic partners have written an unprecedented letter to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

They have said in their jointly signed letter that New Delhi faces losing investor confidence over unpaid Commonwealth Games bills of more than $74 million. “We have a mutual interest in ensuring that India continues to attract the levels of trade and investment to sustain levels of growth that realises the country’s economic potential,” the envoys of Australia, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland said in their letter.

“The long delay in settling these matters is damaging India’s national reputation, denting the confidence of foreign business and raising doubts about the enforcement of contracts,” says the February 16 letter, a copy of which has been obtained by the Hindustan Times. A similar letter has also gone out to sports minister Ajay Maken. The desperate plea for Mukherjee to help release overdue funds four months after the 2010 Commonwealth Games came as foreign firms were told that nothing would move until the Games corruption inquiry was completed, the head of an affected firm told HT.

Pending trouble
A total of 18 firms are owed money — mostly by the Organising Committee, and also by Prasar Bharati and the Delhi Development Authority.

Not only are bills unpaid, but some European companies are also being barred from shipping back equipment used in the Games, spelling further financial losses in container detention charges.

Not only are bills unpaid, but some firms are also being barred from shipping back equipment used in the Games. “Many of these containers hold equipment essential for the companies’ business. As a result, some have had difficulties fulfilling their obligations to other major international sporting events,” the envoys said.