Firms: Still owed millions from Commonwealth Games


LONDON- Foreign companies are planning legal action against organizers of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, claiming they are still owed millions for their work on the opening and closing ceremonies and are being blocked from taking their equipment out of India.

The complaints by the international firms and contractors follow allegations of corruption and mismanagement that plagued the games and cast doubt on India’s ambitions of bidding for the Olympics.

Ric Birch, the executive producer of the Delhi ceremonies, said about 15 companies are affected.

“We did the job for the sake of the Commonwealth Games and for the sake of India,” the Australian-born Birch told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “We all had government contracts and fully expected that those contracts would be honored. I thought we could trust them. As things have turned out, we can’t.

“They haven’t returned calls, haven’t paid their bills, haven’t answered e-mails. They haven’t done anything,” said Birch, who directed ceremonies at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, 1992 Barcelona, 2000 Sydney and 2006 Turin Games.

Birch said his company, Spectack, is owed the final 15 percent of his New Delhi contract, or “hundreds of thousands” of dollars, that was due on Oct. 31.

The total amount at stake among the 15 companies is “several million dollars in fees and tens of millions in the value of the equipment that is just sitting there,” Birch said.

Repeated attempts were made by the AP to reach top Commonwealth Games organizing committee officials, including Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot and A.K. Mattoo. Calls were not answered and messages were not returned.

Hardest hit are some of the companies that brought in lighting, audio, projection, communication and other equipment, including firms from Australia, Britain, Italy, Sweden and Germany.

According to documents seen by the AP, the companies have been unable to re-export their material, which remains stored in freight containers.

“There’s literally millions of dollars worth of gear which is still stuck in containers in India,” Birch said. “No one’s doing anything and it just sits there. It’s absolutely standard practice that the gear is brought in without duty and goes straight out afterwards.”

Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics, an Australian company which handled the fireworks displays, is among those impacted.

According to a letter sent Tuesday by Howard & Sons to Gurjot Kaur, chief vigilance officer of the organizing committee, the company is still owed $287,000 and its equipment is being held in 18 air freight containers. The company says it urgently needs the equipment for a show in Oman and New Year’s Eve celebrations in Australia.

The situation is “causing major logistical and financial issues for the company and those projects,” company director Andrew Howard said in the letter.

The Australian and British high commissions in New Delhi have tried to intervene. It is unclear who will be responsible for all of the storage costs.

Birch said the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advised him that the companies are entitled to legal recourse.

“That’s the next step,” he said. “We’re going to have to go to legal action next.”

India had hoped to boost its reputation on the world stage by hosting the Oct. 3-14 Commonwealth Games. Instead, it was humbled by allegations of corruption, delays and cost overruns.

The buildup was marred by construction setbacks, the collapse of a foot bridge and the discovery of filthy conditions in the athletes’ village just days before the games were to begin.

The cost of hosting the event soared to around $15 billion from the estimated $412 million. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party alleged millions were siphoned by companies run by relatives of games officials.

Last month, Indian investigators filed lawsuits against two companies over alleged corruption involving the games and arrested two former organizing committee officials.

India’s ruling Congress Party fired Kalmadi, the organizing committee chief, as its parliament secretary. Kalmadi has kept his committee position while investigations continue.

“India was making claims that it would bid for an Olympics,” Birch said. “I have to say if this is the way an organizing committee for the Olympics is formed, there’s absolutely no way. It was bad enough for the Commonwealth Games, but it would be much worse for the Olympics.”
[Story Source] [Contest win Rs 1000-100,000 now]

This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

Related Posts
India bids goodbye to best ever Commonwealth Games

India bids goodbye to best ever Commonwealth Games

New Delhi: Fireworks sparkled the cool evening air of Delhi, embarking on a new promise of sporting excellence as the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony kept its promise to the world.The Commonwealth...
Saina pitchforks India to second spot in Commonwealth Games

Saina pitchforks India to second spot in Commonwealth Games

NEW DELHI: Women shuttlers led by singles title-favourite Saina Nehwal provided India with a golden double to pilot the country to a historic second-place finish in the Commonwealth Games that ended o...
Spirit of India wins as Commonwealth Games open

Spirit of India wins as Commonwealth Games open

New Delhi: The much-awaited sports extravaganza kicked off in Delhi on Sunday evening as President Pratibha Patil, along with UK’s Prince Charles, jointly declared the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 open...
India races to turn Commonwealth Games into success

India races to turn Commonwealth Games into success

New Delhi: India raced on Saturday to make final preparations for the Delhi Commonwealth Games with the start just a day away, desperately hoping to reverse the tide of bad publicity.Organisers said t...
India issues health advisory for Commonwealth Games visitors

India issues health advisory for Commonwealth Games visitors

NEW DELHI: With less than a fortnight left for Commonwealth Games and Delhi still reeling under dengue and swine flu outbreak, India on Friday issued a health advisory for participants and visitors co...
Moneghetti hopes athletes embrace India

Moneghetti hopes athletes embrace India

Australia's Commonwealth Games chef de mission Steve Moneghetti has encouraged the country's 378-strong team to cast aside any of their fears about Delhi and embrace the October event.Australia confir...

Leave a Reply

We will keep You Updated...
Get Free Email Newsletter from VoteUpIndia Sign up for our free email newsletter. (Help?)
Read latest headlines in your favorite news reader
Follow VoteUpIndia  on Twitter Become a VoteUpIndia Fan on Facebook Subscribe to VoteUpIndia in Google Reader Add VoteUpIndia  to My Yahoo Add VoteUpIndia  to Netvibes Subscribe to Free Techie Buzz RSS Feed
Sponsored Links
Featured Video
Best Storytellers
Powered by Authors Widget
Recent Posts

McDonald's Suspends Employee, Probes Child's Eviction From Pune Outlet

PUNE: After reports emerged that an eight-year-old destitute child was thrown out of an outlet of...

Why Arjun Made a Humble Request to Cast Sonakshi in Tevar

It's all about wearing your Tevar, this new year. Arjun Kapoor looked dapper at the initial promotions...

5 things Modi needs to do ASAP, after Bihar loss

It's not correct to transpose the outcome from a state election as a referendum on the central government,...

Sehwag's half century in All Star tournament.

The first match has been really special. We thoroughly enjoyed being here. New York, you were brilliant....

Bihar Defeat May Lead to Silent Rebellion in BJP Against PM, Amit Shah: Arun Shourie to NDTV

NEW DELHI: In the aftermath of the BJP's debacle in Bihar, Arun Shourie, one time admirer of Narendra...

Court Refuses to Stop Gillette Razor Ad Starring Deepika Padukone

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has refused to stop a Gillette razor advertisement starring Deepika...

Bigg Boss 9: Roopal Tyagi voted out of the house

TV actor Roopal Tyagi was evicted from reality show Bigg Boss on Sunday’s episode. Roopal is the...
Recent Comments
How i can submit my story...? and where i can see the staus of votes for this?
IFFI lose its art value,so it became lose it commercial value
Dear sir I am sending an article which is based on true story and needs your help to lime light such incidents which never come in
Thanks for the interesting article. Great Post. Keep it up
It is indeed heartening to learn that LSE, the world leader in higher education, will join hands with the most admired Reliance Foun
Tag Cloud