Struggling to meet the deadline set by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to submit necessary bid documents for the 2019 Asian Games, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has now turned to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help.
On Thursday, the association wrote to Modi, requesting a meeting. IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta hopes the process of getting clearances from various ministries and the cabinet will become easier if Modi can be convinced.
The IOA needs to submit various guarantees from the government to the OCA. Besides, it will also have to get clearances from sports, home and external affairs ministries along with the Delhi government and the Union Cabinet. However, it is unlikely they will get all the permissions in such a short period.
“We have written to the prime minister on Thursday, requesting a meeting with an IOA delegation. We want to explain to him our plan in detail and get his backing. Once he gives the green light, we will approach the OCA again,” Mehta said.
The association, though, looks set to miss the extended deadline to submit it’s bid to the OCA. After the IOA failed to meet the initial July 1 deadline, it requested the OCA to give it 15 days’ time. But the OCA refused due to an “extreme shortage of time” and instead granted a “couple of days more” to the IOA on Wednesday to submit relevant bid documents along with the full backing from the central government. That deadline ends on Friday.
And with Modi set to visit Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, a meeting with him looks doubtful. Moreover, the sports ministry is yet to clear the proposal, thus making it difficult for the IOA to meet the extended deadline.
“We started the process late, so we can’t blame anyone,” Mehta admitted, before adding: “Hopefully, we will be able to present a strong bid eventually and convince the OCA.”
The IOA officials are likely to meet sports secretary Ajit Sharan on Friday to submit a revised bid. The ministry had asked for a detailed budget, including the cost to construct the Games Village and other developmental projects.
The ministry has estimated an expenditure of approximately Rs 25,000 crore while the IOA had quoted Rs 5,500 as the operative budget in its initial proposal sent to the ministry.