x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Construction fears ahead of Delhi's Commonwealth Games

The New Delhi Commonwealth Games rocked by scandal with a report alleging that all construction quality certificates inspected so far have turned out to be fake or "suspect".

The New Delhi Commonwealth Games was rocked by a scandal today with a report alleging that all construction quality certificates inspected so far have turned out to be fake or "suspect" With barely two months left to go before the opening of the Games in October, a flood of allegations of rampant corruption are emerging involving the 12-day sporting extravaganza. "Fake certificates were routinely issued to pass substandard work and material," an unnamed official of the Central Vigilance Commission official, a government watchdog body, was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

Other certificates were "suspect," he said. "We have not yet been able to gauge the financial implication but it is certain to have led to very big gains for vendors and contractors," he said. The event involving 71 nations is already the most expensive Commonwealth Games in history, with an infrastructure and organising budget of US$2 billion (Dh7.3bn), although unofficial estimates say the cost will be triple that amount.

Sports minister MS Gill told parliament yesterday that the cost of organising the event - dubbed the "Shame Games" by leading news magazine India Today - had risen 17.5 times since the bid was made in 2003. The opposition is demanding a judicial probe into allegations of corruption in construction of the games and raised fears the poor building standards could affect the safety of athletes. Opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Goel said that "forging and fudging of various quality and safety checks has widely thrown open the possibility of mishaps, blackouts and accidents."

The corruption charges comes as Delhi resembles a giant construction site, with mounds of debris surrounding dug-up roads and walkways across the city as work goes on round-the-clock to get the capital ready for the games. The games were seen as a chance to spotlight India's emerging economic superpower status but now there is widespread skepticism that all the infrastructure will be ready in time.

* AFP