Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Common Wealth & Games They Play With It


Yesterday’s ‘The Economic Times’ had a front page story that exposed the astronomical cost of hiring equipment for the Commonwealth Games about to be held in New Delhi. This responsible newspaper used words like ‘stealth’ and phrases like ‘This is getting dirtier than the Yamuna’ as well as double entendre (French word for doing two things at a time, usually involving a man and woman), such as ‘Item Numbers’. The story is a rant (I thought it was a disease only I suffered from, but it seems as if along with swine flu and mosquito malaria, Deven rant is spreading too. Will it turn into a full-blown epidemic? WHO knows.), against the exorbitant (a word that means, oh, go look up your own dictionary you lazy chum), rates that indicate rank corruption. Here’s a taster from the story:

Rs. 975,000/- for 45 days for a cross trainer that costs Rs. 880,000/-

Rs. 6,308/- for an umbrella

Rs. 42,202/- per 100-litre refrigerator

Rs. 8,308/- per chair

Rs. 4,308/- per tissue roll. Luckily they are not hiring but buying these.

Rs. 80 per unit of diesel-generated electricity. Market rate: Less than Rs. 8/-

I do not agree with The Economic Times story. I think it does not get the big picture. It does not understand the far-sightedness of Mr. Suresh K & Co. It does not understand how the government and the bureaucracy of this great country work. It does not understand how it is actually good for the country.

One look at the rumoured truth leaked out by a spider working in Mr. K’s office can set the record straight:

Mr. K sat on his chair in his office at the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). You could barely see him because of the cobwebs that hung from the ceiling – after all he had been sitting in this office and this chair since 1996 and had resisted all attempts to remove him and clean up the place. One by one the Association members trooped in silently. One of them almost stepped on a resident spider (our disgruntled source of course), and coughed gently. All of them held handkerchiefs to their noses – the stench of the system rotting was too overpowering for even the strongest of them. Mr. K laid out the bare facts in front of his cronies (a word of Sanskrit origin that means fellow workers who share monies adding up to crores).

Mr. K: Like all of you know, we are holding the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

(Murmurs of approval. One member looks up from his Facebook mobile and does a thumbs up sign to say he ‘Likes’ it.)

Mr K: We have lot of people coming and staying and playing and we have to give them equipment. We can buy the equipment…

(Loud roar of approval. Plus one thumbs up.)

Mr. K: …but we will not!

(Collective dropping of handkerchiefs and violent sneezing. Three thumbs down signs. Sound of spiders scampering.)

Mr. K: The problem with buying equipment is when the event is over you are stuck with it. You can’t leave it there because the stadium and all related facilities are built to last until the contractors get their cheques after TDS (Tax Deduction by Suresh). So there are warehousing costs and transportation to the warehouse costs…

(Puzzled silence. Tight close-up of a spider frozen in mid-weaving.)

Mr. K: Plus, after the event is over, we have to sell the equipment. But we can’t sell it to who we want to, can we? No sirs. We are accountable. To ensure a fair sale, we have to invite tenders. To invite tenders, we have to release advertisements. Do you know the cost of advertising space in newspapers? You don't? A decent-size ad roughly costs the same as buying a small-time politician. (Both are a waste of money but that's another story.)  Then, you have to set up a committee to examine the bids, transport the equipment to the venue, hold the auctions, take back the unsold wares, invite fresh tenders…

Mr. K: So I say, let us do our great country a service instead: Let us hire the equipment! I have full faith that however astronomical the cost of hiring it, it will still be cheaper than buying it!!!

(Applause. Hitch-hiking kind of thumb action.)

 But honestly, Mr. K does have a point there. The government is rather inept at selling things. Didn't you read in yesterday's paper about the iron ore mine in Chattisgarh that was sold for Rs. 100,000?


4 comments:

  1. Ah, now Mr.K should have no problem if his behind was to be dragged to an Inquiry. Not that it ever will be, but let's indulge ourselves for a bit. You would certainly make a capable counsel. Or would you... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. My integrity is not for sale Dob. However, it is available for hire if the rates are right!

    Thanks /

    ReplyDelete