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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Three years gone, but Games still not over for organisers 09-22

Three years gone, but Games still not over for organisers

OC continues to keep office & pay Rs 30 lakh as rent

CWG Organising Committee
Seated comfortably in a big room overlooking the Lutyens Delhi skyline, Delhi Commonwealth Games (CWG) CEO Jarnail Singh is only occasionally disturbed by visitors. There aren’t many: The odd former employee enquiring about his dues, routine administrative work, or (rarely) a knock on the door from a CBI inspector looking for a file.

Singh’s room has shrunk since the 2010 heyday. The office that once occupied a whole sprawling building with multiple floors on Central Delhi’s Jaisingh Road is now reduced to just one. The other floors now house some home ministry departments, including the National Investigation Agency that recently moved here.

It’s been three years since the Delhi edition of the Games ended and the next is to begin in Glasgow from July next year. But the Indian Games organising committee (OC) hasn’t yet been wound up. What still keep the committee busy are a series of cases involving disputes with vendors over payment issues. The staff has been trimmed to 40 but the office doesn’t come cheap. The OC is fighting cases amounting to Rs 400 crore in arbitration alone. And till those are settled, the OC will continue to pay the New Delhi Municipal Corporation Rs 30 lakh as rent every month — from what is left of the government’s initial budget allocation to OC for conducting the Games.

After charges of alleged corruption in various deals involving suppliers surfaced, the government asked OC to stop after paying 40 per cent of their dues (around Rs 250 crore). Citing the terms of their contracts, some of these international contractors approached the Supreme Court, petitioning for release of the remaining amount. The Supreme Court ordered them to go for arbitration with the OC which is being conducted by three retired SC judges.

Most of these disputes relate to the companies that got the contract for Games overlays (temporary facilities at various venues provided during operational phase of the Games). The overlays include provision for tents, portable toilets, civil construction, security fences, display LED boards, etc.

CBI has already filed FIRs in cases involving these firms. OC has argued that some of these deals were overvalued, so payments won’t be made till the arbitration dispute is resolved. The companies involved include Switzerland’s Nussli, Delhi-based Pico Deepali Overlays and ESAJV D Art Indo Consortium.

OC’s staff might have been cut and responsibilities reduced. But the rent for the shrunken office remains Rs 30 lakh a month.

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