The New Delhi Commonwealth Games, which is suffering a lot from all the corruption allegations, has received yet another setback.
With just a couple of weeks to go for the event to resume, public sector power corporations National Thermal Power Corporation and PowerGrid Corporation of India have decided to hold back further release of funds for sponsorship of the CWG. NTPC and PowerGrid have decided to hold back the Rs 40-crore sponsorship money out of a combined committed sum of Rs 60 crore. The NTPC, which has given Rs 20 crore, out of its total commitment of Rs 50 crore, has also demanded an audit by a government-appointed agency for the sum it has released to the CWG organizing committee.
The decision follows instructions from Vilasrao Deshmukh, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister, who said on Thursday that his ministry has asked PSUs to hold back sponsorship money totalling up to Rs260 crore for the event. Meanwhile, the Indian Railways, which had promised Rs100 crore for the Games, has also voiced concerns about sponsoring the event. Mamata Banerjee said that her ministry would ascertain the credentials of the CWG expenditure before releasing the sponsorship money.
However, luck seems to be changing for the CWG as some of the private companies have plans to sponsor the event. A few companies believe that these controversies can actually have a positive effect on the games. Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot says that the regular media coverage has increased public awareness on the CWG. Videocon, which has been funding various sports events since 1991, has decided to spend on advertising for the Common Wealth Games.
Companies like Hero Honda, Coca-Cola and Airtel have already tied up for CWG sponsorships. Hero Honda and Coca-Cola, are spending Rs38 crore and Rs16 crore respectively. Coca-Cola, which has sponsored a lot of important sporting events, has now got the opportunity to provide refreshment for more than 8,000 athletes and delegates, and more than 30,000 volunteers who will be taking part in the CWG. A Coca-Cola spokesperson had said that the event will be an important vehicle to help them in continuing to connect consumers to their brands.
Even though companies have vowed support for the games, there is no certainty whether the quadrennial games will be a success in India. Let us hope that the event which is dubbed as the biggest sporting spectacle to be held in India is going to be one of the best.
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