In the light of the ongoing problems with and the questions about the 2010 Commonwealth Games, it is impossible to side step the pressing concerns facing all of us in the University and the city. Caught in the debris created by corporate greed and national glory, we are suffocated, paying for something which is to the detriment of huge numbers of people. Mega games all over the world have created sad stories of displacement, evictions, resource diversions which reveal a pattern of reckless disregard which raises important questions about such events.
The History Society of Ramjas College and New Socialist Initiative had organized a discussion on "Beyond the Obvious: Interrogating the Commonwealth Games 2010" on 30th July, 2010, 10:30 am, at the Seminar Room, Ramjas College, with Shalini Mishra (HLRN) and Shabnam (Hazards Center). The discussion was followed by a Protest Meeting to resist evictions in the name of Commonwealth Games organized by University Community for Democracy (of which NSI is a part) held at Arts Faculty, University of Delhi.
Below are the press statements of both the events as well as few images:
On the 30th of July 2010 New Socialist Initiative in collaboration with Ramas College History Society organized a discussion with Shalini Mishra from the Housing Land Rights Network (HLRN) , Shabnam from Hazards Centre and Iderjit from PUDR. It was titled, “ Beyond the obvious: Interrogating the Commonwealth Games 2010. Shalini Mishra talked about a report published by Housing Land Rights Network titled, “ The 2010 Commonwealth Games: Whose Wealth? Whose Commons?” . Shalini’s presentation demonstrated how the grave problems with CWG begins right from the bidding stage in 2003. The decision itself was shrouded in secrecy and many of the official documents continue to me marked as confidential, placing them outside the purview of public scrutiny. The promises made by India in order to win the bid included a 7.5 million USD package to train the athlete of participant countries – which is unprecedented in the history of the CWG. Following this, the speakers discussed a series of lofty promises made by the government which to date remain unfulfilled . For example the promise of infrastructure, The promise of 2.5 million new jobs ( an RTI reveals that merely 1800 temporary jobs have been created) and the promise of better sporting culture ( stadiums in the university have been barred from student usage for three years). Indrajit from PUDR also talked of the huge human cost of the Games. The fact that many workers have lost their lives at construction sites is damaging enough. Most workers remain unregistered, work overtime and are unpaid for it, and in general paid less than minimal wage. Shabnam discussed the whole process of eviction which dispossesses citizens. She also said that when an official from the Social Welfare department was questioned about the forced removal of beggars he responded by saying, “ We are used to beggars but foreigners are not.”