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Sunday , January 16 , 2011
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Tough talk on Games-eve
- No advance, state tells Wizcraft

Ranchi, Jan. 15: State government today indicated it will not bow to demands of Wizcraft, the event management company assigned to organise opening and closing ceremonies of the fortnight-long National Games scheduled be held in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad from February 12.

During negotiations with officials of National Games Organising Committee (NGOC) today, a representative of Wizcraft International, which has agreed to do the job for Rs 9.95 crore, apparently asked for a 50 per cent advance.

But the NGOC turned down the demand.

Sports department special secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni explained the government was unwilling to take a chance. “We do not want to take a chance by giving money in advance. We have told them (Wizcraft) clearly that it must finish the work and then take the entire amount,” he told The Telegraph.

Wizcraft has had prior association, albeit controversial, with the 34th National Games that has been postponed as many as six times since 2007. First chosen for the job in 2008, the company was selected this time too for holding the two ceremonies.

And according to negotiations on January 6, it agreed to a package of Rs 9.95 crore with sources clarifying that there was no talk of an advance.

However, Wizcraft is yet to sign on the dotted line, demanding the state government write off Rs 1.73 crore paid to it as mobilisation advance in 2008.

Kulkarni indicated the government was unlikely to accede to this demand too.

“It is government money. It will not go down the drain. We will take back the amount under any circumstances,” he said.

Wizcraft’s vice-president (business development) Simon Caszo, who took part in today’s meeting, was noncommital, claiming his company was yet to be informed of the government’s decision.

“We are still in the process of negotiations and it will not be wise to comment at this juncture,” he said.

Amid the tough talk over the opening and closing ceremonies, organisational work continued throughout the day.

NGOC finalised caterers and transport service providers. Faridabad-based Gazal caterers have been chosen for catering services that would include morning tea/coffee, breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner. Both north and south Indian dishes would be on offer at Rs 563 per person per day.

Patna-based Gangotri Tour & Travels would be providing transportation services. It would put in use 100 AC luxury cars and 400 AC cars. If needed, it would also provide buses.

NGOC has also invited bids for setting up food courts at designated sites at various stadiums to sell snacks, freshly prepared food, soft drinks and packed juice, chocolates, toffees, packaged drinking water, soup, tea, coffee, icecream, among others.

Tomorrow, chief secretary A.K. Singh, sports secretary Sukhdev Singh, sports director Amitabh Choudhary and Kulkarni are expected to visit Jamshedpur and Dhanbad by helicopter to review preparations.

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