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Acclaim after shame
  By Sarvjeet Singh  
  THE spectacular opening ceremony is likely to put a lid on the unrelenting CWG-2010 bashing worldwide. We certainly earned the bashing as much as we deserve the praise.

The event, however, throws up issues that go well beyond sports management in the country and also beyond as to who runs sports in the country. When we bid for the Commonwealth Games, we intended to announce our arrival on world stage in style with this sports extravaganza.

Unfortunately, due to rank inefficiency, rampant corruption and absolute ineptitude of the people entrusted with the event, the message that went out in the initial phase was exactly the opposite. Now on hindsight, was it wise to splurge a huge amount on organizing an event for countries that have once been ruled by the British Empire?

Why couldn't the same world-class facilities be provided to train our sportsperson not only in Delhi but in various forgotten corners of the country which have been producing world beaters despite all odds? The doubling of prize money for medal winners to induce participation shows how misplaced our priorities in sports are.

The stutter and stumble in planning and preparation of the games should serve to shake up the sports administration set up in the country post CWG-2010. It is indeed unfortunate that our sports establishment is in the hands of people who push away illustrious coaches and those who add 'Azad' to the name of an ex-President at the opening ceremony of CWG-2010.

In a country where women's hockey team members, participating in a National event, are accommodated in a stationary train bogey and other state and national -level teams are regularly made to train in su-bhuman living conditions, distribution of money in support of our CWG bid to countries who are waiting for a chance to heap scorn on us looks absolutely ridiculous.

Equally ridiculous is the hollow lament of the so-called civil rights groups about the missing beggars from Delhi streets. Anyone acquainted with driving in Delhi would vouch for the hazards that beggars pose on the streets of Delhi as they dangerously dodge past vehicles when the lights turn green.

In the Connaught Place area they can be seen snorting and smoking stuff that is supposed to be illegal. Go to any of the popular restaurants in the area and your are sure to be badgered and if your do not relent, you are abused. Yes, they have a right to shelter and food which the Government ought to provide but should anyone be allowed to squat at anyplace of his/her choice, harass others for a living and take banned substances openly just because he/she is poor?

Should they be allowed to remove iron railings from the footpath and sell them for their next fix? Again, in Connaught Place area there have been numerous instances of snatching assaults on Indians as well as foreigners by these elements. The Police officials on condition of anonymity express their helplessness in acting against them because their medical condition is precarious and if taken into custody, they sometimes inflict self injuries and attribute them to the Police officers in the court. The citizens of Delhi have a right to a secure and peaceful life. It is immaterial whether that right is under threat by rich brats running amok in their fancy cars or by people who are in the organized profession of selling poverty.

Surely, the citizens of Delhi should be sensitized about their responsibility towards the poor and the related agencies can consider taking contribution (based on the area of residence) on the lines of house tax etc to build shelters which takes care of their basic needs. But allowing begging and accepting to live with it will only encourage the criminal misuse of the poor for the organized begging syndicate which has time and again been exposed in the media. The Commonwealth Games have definitely opened windows of opportunity for Delhi. This opportunity should not be restricted to window-dressing for the event only. Delhi deserves our constant care.
The writer is Assistant General Secretary of New Delhi YMCA and a regular contributor to The Herald of India
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