Sidharth Pandey, NDTV
New Delhi: After busting the budget several times over, the Commonwealth Games are apparently still short of money.
NDTV has accessed a letter written by Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy to Defence Minister AK Antony stating that the Army should not expect the Organizing Committee (OC) for the Games to pay allowances for the officers and jawan who are on duty for the Games. This means, the Army has to shell out 11 crores for assisting the government with the Games.
Reddy's letter, dated August 11, also states that Army facilities being used by artists for the Opening Ceremony - places where they will practice and stay - should be provided free of cost by the Army.
"The Group of Minister (GoM) - headed by Mr Jaipal Reddy - has requested the Defence Minister to do it free of charge so they have agreed to do it free of charge," Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi said.
Originally, the Organizing Committee was meant to compensate all army men for the two-and-half-months of service required by them for the Games. Travel costs and cellphone expenses were also meant to be reimbursed. Army venues and facilities were meant to be upgraded with the OC paying for the renovations.
The Army is now effectively being asked to use the Defence budget for any costs it incurs for the Games.
Recently, the government has asked Public Sector Units (PSUs) to drop out as sponsors for the Games because of the controversy - the massive corruption scandal - surrounding the Games. This means PSUs are holding back crores of money.