CWG mess tarnishing India's global image

CWG mess tarnishing India's global image

"Concerns regarding safety, security and site preparedness are tarnishing the country's global image... India's reputation as a tourist and investment destination could be damaged," said Moody's Analytics, a unit of global rating agency Moody's.

The comments came amid criticism of lack of preparedness for the Games that are to be held here between October 3-14. About 9,000 athletes and officials from 72 nations are expected to participate.

The run-up to the CWG has been mired in controversy, including corruption charges against the Games Organising Committee, poor quality of construction of Games' facilities and sanitary issues with the Games village.

"Confidence in India's infrastructure, its capacity to organise large events, and its reputation as a tourist destination have all been brought into question," Moody's said.

Earlier this week, an under-construction foot overbridge collapsed outside the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the main venue for the mega event, injuring 27 people.

"Fears regarding safety and security have been upstaged by more immediate concerns about India's preparedness to host the event, following the collapse of a pedestrian bridge allegations of widespread corruption and revelations that the athletes' housing was unfinished days before competitors are scheduled to arrive," Moody's said.

Also there are threats of pull out by athletes from teams from Canada, England and New Zealand, while some squads have have delayed departure.

"The decision by a number of individual athletes to pull out... have dominated headlines at a time when India should have been showcasing its rising economy, recent infrastructure development, and improved business environment," it said.

The global agency said that the multi-billion dollar investment in the CWG would spur economic activity in 2010 through infrastructure investment, tourism promotion, and a general rise in household sentiment that would buoy retail spending.

"Benefits were expected to continue after the closing ceremony through increased global exposure and an improved international image," it added.

However, it added, "the fiasco is undermining the anticipated benefits of hosting a major international sports event."

The negative publicity could deter foreign investment and give multinational businesses considering expanding in India a reason to think twice, Moody's said.

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