Six years after they were allotted to Jharkhand,the 34th National Games,originally slated for November 2007 and rescheduled thrice since,have been postponed again for an all too familiar reason: infrastructure.
In its steering committee meeting on Saturday,the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) deemed that the state wasnt in a position to host the Games as planned from February 15-28,and decided to defer the event till June. However,the latest leeway could cost the organisers the Jharkhand Olympic Association dearly,as various state units,irked by the procrastination,are asking for compensation.
It is learnt that a number of state units have already booked tickets for their athletes and officials and now want the Jharkhand Olympic Association (JOA) to bear the cost of cancellation,which is estimated to be over Rs 50 lakh. As per the Memorandum of Understanding between the JAO and IOA,the host will have to foot the bills of the various state affiliates in case of an exigency. This (compensating) is a universal practice and is part of the deal that the host association signs when the games are allotted to it, the secretary of one of the state associations told The Sunday Express on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile,the organisers insisted it wasnt their fault this time. While the IOA review committee was of the view that the infrastructure at venues in Ranchi,Jamshedpur and Dhanbad wasnt ready,the Games Technical Conduct Committee (GTCC) claimed it couldve hosted the Games next month,but for the political instability in the state.
Speaking to The Sunday Express,organising secretary SM Hashmi said the preparations were,in fact,by and large over. As for infrastructure,95 per cent of the work is over. We could have held the Games in February but the political situation in the state wasnt conducive. I can assure you we would be able to conduct the Games in June, he said.
Meanwhile,SM Bali,chairman of the GTCC,said the postponement would help them put in place all the equipment needed for the Games. We are confident the infrastructure and equipment would be there in the next three to four months, Bali said.