After looking around for almost three years for a suitable custodian for the Commonwealth Games expensive showpiece, the aerostat balloon, it is the Goa government that has come forward to take it.
The aerostat, worth R57 crore, will be sold to the Goa authorities for R1. The state government plans to use the helium-filled balloon during the Lusofonia Games, a multi-sport event involving athletes from Portuguese-speaking countries, to be held in November this year.
“The Goa government had written to the ministry of youth affairs and sports, showing its interest in buying the aerostat balloon. Since we are the present custodians of the aersotat, we have decided to hand it over to them for R1 as we cannot charge anything from a government agency,” said Jarnail Singh, CEO, organising committee, CWG.
Though its use has not been finalised yet, the Goan authorities plan to use the aerostat for commercial purposes when the Lucifonia Games are on. “We had written to the sports ministry a month back, expressing our willingness to buy the aerostat. Since the Lusofonia Games are still a few months away, we have not decided its exact use,” said Keshav Chandra, (secretary) sports, Goa.
Earlier the aerostat was to be handed over to the Defence Research and Development Organistaion, but it refused to accept it, citing pending customs duty.