Mumbai: Hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010 is an attempt to improve the country’s global image but of little relevance to the common man, India’s sports minister said on 11 April.
The 2010 Games will be staged in New Delhi at an estimated cost of Rs70 billion ($1.64 billion) and the city is also in the race for the 2014 Asian Games and the 2016 Olympics.
“Whether you organise the Commonwealth Games in Delhi or in Melbourne, the state of people living in the colonies right opposite the Games site (on the banks of Yamuna in India) will remain the same,” Mani Shankar Aiyar said in New Delhi.
Indian sports lovers would watch the Games on television anyway, irrespective of the venue, he said.
“The government does not have enough money for social development programmes but has sanctioned Rs7,000 crore for hosting the Commonwealth Games just to improve India’s image internationally,” he added.
India finished fourth in the medals table with 22 golds at the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne behind Australia, England and Canada.
India’s Olympic chiefs said on 12 April they were confident of securing the 2014 Asian Games despite a dissenting note from the country’s sports minister.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) will meet in Kuwait on 17 April to choose a winner between New Delhi, the Indian capital, and the South Korean city of Incheon as the host city of the continental Games.