IOA writes to Prime Minister to save India`s Asiad bid

New Delhi: In a last-ditch attempt to salvage any hopes of India bidding for 2019 Asian Games, the Indian Olympic Association today sought an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking government`s support.

IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta told PTI that only the Prime Minister can save the situation for India after the Olympic Council of Asia had given an extension of just "a couple of days" to submit the final bid documents.

The deadline to submit the bid had ended on July 1 but the IOA had requested for a 15-day extension, which the Asian body had declined.

"I sent a mail to the Prime Minister`s Office today for a meeting with the PM. Now, it all depends on him whether we will bid or not," Mehta said.

The OCA had given time till tomorrow to submit the final bid documents and it will have to be seen whether the PM will grant an audience with the IOA top brass or not. The PM is going to Jammu and Kashmir for a one-day visit to the state.

Mehta conceded that it was now late in the day to submit the final bid documents.

"I have done what I could have and it`s late for us to submit the bid. But our fingers are crossed. If the PM gives time to us in the next couple of days and gives the green signal, then the bid will be alive again," he said.

Asked if the IOA would ask the OCA to further extend the deadline by another couple of days, Mehta said, "We can do it only if there is some signal from the government that it is willing to support the bid."

Mehta said that the Sports Ministry has told him that the clearance will have to be done at the Prime Ministerial level.

"The Sports Ministry wanted a detailed presentation on the bid and we had given them. The Ministry had told us that it is for the Prime Minister to say yes or no," he said.

It is learnt that the IOA had made a presentation to the Sports Ministry, projecting an operating cost of the Games to the tune of around USD one billion. Besides, the IOA had proposed construction of a couple of stadia, including those for hosting water sports.

According to sources, the sticking point had been Sports Ministry`s insistence on the details and cost of construction of the Games Village and the connecting road, besides the cost of the proposed stadia.

"We have been told by the Sports Ministry to give more details and we are going to give them," Mehta said.