How much does it cost to build a stadium?
Over the past one week a controversy has been raging over the cost of building a cricket stadium in New Delhi. The Chief Minister of Delhi claims that his office was raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) because his office had been investigating the shell companies behind a controversial "refurbishment" of the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium which cost about ₹ 142 Cr (USD 22 m). He also alleges that the money trail leads up to Arun Jaitley, India's Finance Minister.
Not the one to take things lying down, the country's Finance Minister has now filed a defamation case against the Chief Minister.
As allegations and counter-allegations fly to and fro, here are some figures that put things in perspective:
- A brand new stadium was contructed at Dharamshala for ₹ 20 Crores (USD 3 million)
- Prior to the Commonwealth Games 2010, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was refurbished at the cost of ₹ 600 Crores (USD 92 m)
- The iconic "Birds Nest" stadium built for the Beijing Olympics cost USD 243 million (₹ 2,750 Cr).
- In Japan, there was a huge controversy over the cost of a new stadium for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. A design created by Zaha Hadid costing USD 2.1 billion (₹ 13,650 Cr), It has now been replaced by a "cheaper" design that costs only USD 1.2 billion (₹ 7,800 Cr)
If we take the Dharamshala stadium as a realistic local reference point, the cost of JLN stadium and FZK stadum certainly seems over the top. But this should not come as a big surprise to any of us because we all know that in the absence of transparent funding to political parties, there is really no incentive towards having projects that have zero kickbacks.
Ultimately, as the old saying goes, "When elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled."
* BBC - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35158004
* Financial Times -- http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b5db6708-a874-11e5-955c-1e1d6de94879.html#axzz3v4mJWh9V
* Zahid's Stadium design for Tokyo -- http://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/new-national-stadium/