Diplomatic intervention as OC fails to pay dues
A diplomatic row is brewing over the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee's failure to pay dues running into crores to foreign firms and contractors whose services were hired for the Games. Moushumi Das Gupta reports.delhi Updated: Dec 02, 2010 23:24 IST
A diplomatic row is brewing over the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee's (OC) failure to pay dues running into crores to foreign firms and contractors whose services were hired for the Games.
The issue of non-payment of dues might dent India's image and may become a major embarrassment for the country in the international arena.
The OC is already in deep trouble with various investigating agencies probing allegations of financial irregularities against it in organising the mega-sporting event.
Disappointed with the delay, both the Australian and British High Commissions have shot off letters to the OC last week asking it to honour the contractual commitment that it had signed with international firms hired by it to provide various services during the Games.
An Australian High Commission spokesperson said, "The Australian government has raised the issue with the Indian government and the OC. We have asked for early finalisation of these accounts in accordance with the relevant contracts."
Some of these firms include Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics Display Unit that was behind the spectacular fireworks displayed at the Games' opening and closing ceremony.
While the OC signed a contract worth Rs 3.75 crore with the firm, it is yet to pay over Rs 1 crore.
It owes another Rs 1.5 crore to Sydney-based events producer Ric Birch whose company Spectak Productions was hired as consultants to provide creative direction for the Games' ceremonies. Fed up with the mismanagement, Birch left the OC just before the Games.
The British High Commission has also written a similar letter to OC asking it clear all outstanding dues that it owes to UK firms.
The High Commission has also asked the OC to expedite the process of transporting equipment worth crores that were used in the Games back to UK.
"Equipment worth crores lying in the Indian docks with the customs officials failing to initiate the process of exporting the goods back. This was part of the contract that the OC signed with the British firms. The delay threatens to dent India's image as these are reputed international firms," said a source.
A senior OC official who did not want to be quoted confirmed that the OC has received the letters from the two High Commissions.
"We have replied to the commissions that we are expediting the process of clearing all outstanding dues that we owe to foreign firms," the official said.
Another Swiss firm Events Knowledge Services is also waiting to get its remaining dues from the OC.