The Haryana government spent Rs 85.94 lakh,including the airfare and accommodation,for sending a 10-member delegation to London Olympics. Ironically,the delegation led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and comprising ministers,bureaucrats,legislators,and CMs close aides,did not even attend the sporting mega event. The over-enthusiastic government suffered a loss of Rs 54 lakh – as non-refundable expenditure – over the tour that could not materialise the Centre grounded the delegation.
The Haryana government had made the arrangements for attending the Olympics to encourage its sportspersons and based on the communication with the state government,the Indian High Commission at London had already incurred the expenses on the booking hotel rooms for the delegation.
However,the expenses incurred on the bookings and other arrangements,have now given fodder to the main opposition Indian National Lok Dal,which is demanding the recovery of the entire amount from the personal accounts of the delegation,including the chief minister.
The delegation,which had to attend the Olympics from August 4 to 13,included Hooda,Venod Sharma (MLA),Sukhbir Kataria (Minister of Sports),Prahlad Singh Gilakhera (Chief Parliamentary Secretary,Sports),Chhatar Singh (Principal Secretary to CM),Hardeep Kumar (Financial Commissioner),PV Rathee (Principal Advisor,Home and CID,to CM),MS Chopra (Principal Officer on Special Duty to CM),OP Singh (Director,Department of Sports and Youth Affairs) and Shadi Lal Kapoor (Special Secretary to CM).
Hoping that the delegation will be approved by the Centre,the state got rooms booked in Londons Crown Plaza hotel. It even had booked first class air ticket for Hooda,economy class tickets for OP Singh and Shadi Lal Kapoor,and business class for the other seven.
Nearly Rs 48 lakh was spent on the hotel bookings (including 9,900 GBP room for CM 4,500 GBP room for other nine). Besides,15 tickets for the Olympics,worth Rs 4.06 lakh (non-refundable) were purchased by the state government from the Indian Olympics Association. This included nine tickets for boxing,hockey,wrestling and lawn-tennis and four for the closing ceremony.
Once the Centre refused permission to the delegation,the state tried to send a three-member delegation,including Kataria,Gilankhera and Hardeep Kumar. But this proposal too was shot down.
There was no need for the state government to have shown such a hurry in getting the hotel and air-tickets booked,when they had not even sought a permission from the Centre. This was nothing but a wasteful expenditure, said INLD legislator and vice-president of IOA,Abhay Singh Chautala.
When asked,OP Singh,Director,Department of Sports and Youth Affairs,who was also a part of the initial delegation,said,I am not authorised to comment on this issue.