Giving a massive boost to the Commonwealth Games preparation, the central government has allocated Rs 1620 crore as loan to the organizing committee of the event.
“The Union Cabinet approved the proposal of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for providing a revised budget of Rs 1620 crore, as loan to the organising committee Commonwealth Games 2010, at the prevailing government rate of interest, for organising the CWG at Delhi during October 3 to 14. Budget approved earlier was Rs 767 crore,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told media persons after the cabinet meeting.
Explaining reasons prompting hike in budget, she said that higher cost of opening and closing ceremonies, an increase in the number of days for Queen’s Baton Relay – from 136 to 240 days for international leg and from 60 to 100 days for domestic leg – were among top reasons leading to the increased allocation.
“Inclusion of new items that are essential for the successful delivery of the Games but were not provided in the initial budget of the OC, namely accreditation, city operations, sponsorship and TV rights, security, sustainability and environment and ticketing,” she said.
Besides other reasons were also listed for budgetary hike, which include cost escalation in respect of accommodation, catering, protocol and CGF relations, Queen’s Baton Relay, rent for office of OC, communication, image and look technology, risk management, insurance and technical conduct of sports.
“The number of volunteers has gone up to nearly 30,000 and the cost of accreditation, catering, uniform etc on this account has also increased,” the minister said.
“The components of rent for OC headquarters ‘Technology’ which were practically ‘nil’ in the initial budget are now around Rs 175 crore and Rs 200 crore respectively,” Soni said.
Soni said that the OC is expected to generate revenue of about Rs 1708 crore from the Games.
The Games build-up has been mired in controversies with the Commonwealth Games Federation expressing concerns about the pace of preparations.
Things took an ugly turn when OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi asked for the transfer of CGF CEO Mike Hooper from Delhi, saying that he was an impediment to the Games’ preparation.
The matter was resolved during the Queen’s Baton Relay last month where Kalmadi and CGF chief Mike Fennell discussed the contentious issues and agreed to bury the hatchet.