For Delhi, which is reminded frequently by politicians of the privileges of hosting the 2010 Games, the hope is that the price tag of 30,000 crores will at least deliver world-class infrastructure - better roads, flyovers, stadia. (Forum: Are the 2010 Games worth the fuss and expenditure?
That Promised Land doesn't appear any nearer at least during this monsoon, with the rain bringing down the roof quite literally at different venues. If you're the sort of person who can see a stadium flooded with water and look at it as half-empty rather than half-full, this investigation could test even your patience.
The different venues which will host an estimated 10,000 players and officials are each meant to have basic medical facilities and equipment - stretchers, ultrasound therapy machines and wheelchairs. So in March, the Delhi Health Department asked for tenders for 34 of these items. The Delhi government rejected bids from various reputed international firms, arguing that they were technically below-the-mark. Credible protests followed and that led to a call for a fresh round of bids in May.
The details of who won the tenders or contracts were carefully-guarded. The winning price was never declared - standard practice.
The need for secrecy is obvious. The government is buying products at seven times their normal price.
124 trolley beds have cost the government - and remember, this is your tax money - nearly 1.5 crores. The beds are being bought from a company named Surgicoin. When NDTV contacted the same company, we received a quote of about 1.5 lakhs per bed. But the government is paying 2.75 lakhs per bed. A middleman - a company named Lord Krishna which is selling those beds to the government - therefore benefits big time.
The government is being fleeced across the board. For ultrasound therapy machines, the government is paying the same Lord Krishna Company 3.5 lakhs per machine - against the actual price of Rs 77,000 that the manufacturer quoted to us. Multiply that by the 41 machine the government has bought, and the loss is more than a crore just for this item.
Muscle and tissue injuries are also more expensive during the Games than at other times, apparently. Shortwave Diathermy machines - used to treat these injuries - are priced at 4.9 lakhs against the manufacturer's usual price of Rs 77,000. Across the 20 machines that have been bought, that's a loss of 83 lakhs.
The math across different categories adds up to a loss of 3.5 crores for the purchases of the Delhi Health Department. "Well I have no idea as I am not directly related to such purchases, however if you have made such a comment, then I will definitely inquire into it"." Said Dr Kiran Walkia, the city's Health Minister.
The daylight robbery will extend well beyond the Games. The tenders or bids that were awarded are valid till June, 20100 - that means government hospitals that want to buy any of this equipment are obliged to use the same companies and rates.
If you're feeling a bit sore about this, this could add to the burn. It turns out that several prominent clinics in Delhi had volunteered their services for the Commonwealth Games, but their offers of setting up free lab facilities were rejected. Dr Navin Dang, OF South Delhi's famous Dang's Clinic, wrote a year ago to several government officials offering his services at no cost. He says nobody responded.
It's easy to imagine who benefits from these heavily-padded prices. And it leaves the city convinced that the Games offer all pinch and no pleasure.