Poverty Games - India
Behind the most expensive Commonwealth Games in history, lies a very different reality. Slums are destroyed for the tourists, and the poor struggle to eke out a living working to create the venues.
"I have my good days and my bad days", says ten-year-old Arif. Just a stone's throw from the luxurious athletes' apartments symbolising the growth and promise of a new India, he lives, works, and plays in Delhi's biggest slum. Picking through the rubbish in the rivers and dumps of Dharavi, he ekes out a tiny living to give to his parents, risking both infection and injury. In the run-up to the games, thousands of slums are demolished and residents are banished. Many come from the outskirts to work, hoping to see the spoils of India's economic growth. Yet they earn less than a dollar a day working on the games sites. "Showing the most beautiful parts of the city and putting curtains in front of slums is not going to solve the problem", says Vinod Shetty. India has overspent on its Commonwealth Games budget by tens of millions of dollars. And according to a recent Indian report, has diverted money from schemes to fight poverty to further fund the Games. "Don't read the press, everything will be OK", laughs Head of the Games Committee, Suresh Kalmadi. The 5 million people living in slums with no access to clean water or toilets, beg to differ.
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