The Indian official red tape almost derailed country’s Para Asian Games campaign in Jakarta even before it had started, before a typical Indian jugaad saved the day for the 50-odd para athletes in the Indonesian capital on Monday. The athletes who reached Jakarta on Monday morning, came close to being stranded after the Games organisers refused to hand them over the keys to their rooms in the Games Village. The reason? India had failed to deposit the required fees to the organisers, the deadline for which was September 29.
According to India’s chef de mission, they were supposed to deposit half of the required amount by September 15 and the rest by September 29. After a lot of drama in the morning, urgent payment of $50,000 and submission of an undertaking that the rest of the amount would be paid by October 4, saw the organisers relent and provide accommodation to the Indian athletes.
“The organisers have not got the money, so they are asking for it. They refused to give us the room keys and stopped us from getting inside the Games Village. We somehow arranged to pay $50,000 and then submitted an undertaking,” chef de mission Gursharan Singh said. Singh said that the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) had submitted its proposal to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) a month back and it had been moved to the ministry around 10 to 15 days back. “I don’t know why the situation came to such a pass. But we were apprehensive that such a thing could happen and were prepared to deal with it. We had been negotiating with the organisers for the last few days to avoid any embarrassment,” said Singh.