Australia raises CWG unpaid bills with India

Thursday, January 20, 2011

MELBOURNE - Australia Thursday raised the issue of millions of dollars owed to its firms by India’s Commonwealth Games Organising Committee with visiting External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who assured he would take it up with the sports ministry on return to India.

As soon as I go back, I will take it up with the ministry of sports, Krishna told reporters at a joint press conference with Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

He assured media persons that the India would further discuss the issue with Australian interlocutors so that the dues are settled.

Rudd said he had raised the issue in talks with Krishna, who is on a three-day visit which began Tuesday.

“We did discuss these matters. We in Australia are comfortable about the Indian government’s responses about the process we have in hand, which is a complicated one on the domestic matters in India itself. But these matters are well in hand,” Rudd told reporters.

He said the Australian government will work with the companies to assure that proper payments are made to them.

According to media reports, an Australian company is suing the Delhi Commonwealth Games Organising Committee over unpaid bills.

Ric Birch, who was the mastermind behind the opening and closing ceremonies, said the firm has not yet been paid for the two events on Oct 3 and 14 last year.

“I supplied the services of 12 people over the course of the year leading up to the Games, which included choreographers, producers and myself as executive producer.”

He went on to say that he had never faced such problems while working on Commonwealth Games or the Olympics in Mexico or China, Barcelona or Los Angeles.

“We had an anagram which came about by the ceremonies that everyone was heartily sick of the Delhi Organising Committee so we decided that India stood for ‘India - I’ll never do it again’,” he said.

Not just the private sector, the Australian Commonwealth Games Association is owed more than $100,000 in travel subsidies, said.

Perry Crosswhite, the association’s chief executive who is also pursuing the Delhi Organising Committee, said: “Besides all the usual letters and calls and so forth, we’re taking the matter up with our international body, which is the Commonwealth Games Federation who are very concerned about it as well.”

“We’ve also (spoken) with the Indian high commissioner to see whether she could help as well and she’s trying to.”

Filed under: Olympic Games

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