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INDIA

New Delhi to host Commonwealth games – but at what cost?

2 min

New Delhi is preparing to host its first Commonwealth Games (GWG), a multi-sport competitive event between independent countries, most of whom used to be part of the old British Empire. But forced evictions, unfinished construction sites and spiraling costs have left Delhi residents wondering whether the games ‘extravaganza' is worth it. Read more...

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Photo by Ankit Sharma, posted on the Flickr album "Toiling for the Commonwealth".

New Delhi is preparing to host its first Commonwealth Games (GWG), a multi-sport competitive event between independent countries, most of whom used to be part of the old British Empire. But forced evictions, unfinished construction sites and spiralling costs have left Delhi residents wondering whether the ‘extravaganza' is worth it.

The government trumpeted New Delhi's successful 2003 bid to host the CWG as a chance for the Indian capital to shine as a "world class city". The city has undergone a major face lift, built five new stadiums and a games village to host the athletes on the banks of the river Yamuna.

But the makeover came at a cost - both social and financial. Official cost estimates have risen from 390 million euros in the initial 2003 bid to over 3.6 billion euros, and could surge even higher.

Furthermore, a report by the Indian chapter of the Housing and Land Rights Network underlined a violation of the human rights of slum dwellers and construction workers in the run-up to the Games.

Despite the spiralling costs, several construction sites remain unfinished, with the games due to start in a little over a month (opening ceremonies are on October 3). City officials are reportedly considering hiding unfinished work behind ‘aesthetic' scaffold nettings.

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