Thursday, January 8, 2009

Commonwealth Games expenses to overshoot budget

Expenses for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India will overshoot the budgeted costs, the head of the organizing body said Tuesday.

Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the organizing committee and president of the Indian Olympic Association, said the budget for the multidiscipline event will increase due to the rising cost of construction.

"The games budget will increase considering the escalating prices of raw material used in construction," Press Trust of India quoted Kalmadi as saying after an inspection visit of the stadium that will stage athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies.

"We're building an international standard stadium here and we won't compromise on that," Kalmadi said. "The prices of steel and cement are high and we're taking that into consideration."

Two months ago, during an appraisal survey of the venues, the Commonwealth Games Federation said it was concerned over the slow pace of work, but Kalmadi said the construction and upgrading of venues would be completed in the next 12 months.

"We're on target and 30 percent of the work has been completed," Kalmadi said. "Most of the infrastructure will be ready by December and the test events will start in March next year."

The 2010 Commonwealth Games are scheduled for Oct. 3-14.

New Delhi was chosen to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games after several previous failed bids, becoming only the second Asian city to be allocated the event that features athletes from the former British Empire.