ANDHRA PRADESH

Ball is in Government's court, say WTA Open organisers

State has been asked to bear the entire expenditure of the women's tennis championship

V.V. Subrahmanyam

HYDERABAD: The State Government is caught between the devil and the deep sea. With the fourth edition of the Hyderabad WTA Open Tennis Championship scheduled early next year, neither can it bluntly say `no' to the prestigious event for want of funds nor simply ignore the fact that it will have little control in even mapping the expenditure projected to be about Rs. 2.80 crores if it says `yes' to bear the total cost.

Officials say the organisers want the Government to host the event and bear the total expenditure. When told that the Government this time cannot sponsor or give the customary grant of Rs. 15 lakhs, they threw up their hands. What is worrying the officials is lack of accountability when it comes to the nitty-gritty of expenditure. A note prepared by the State Government states that for the last edition Rs. 1.70 crores had been released for the organisers who had submitted bills for Rs. 2.56 crores after the event. When the issue was referred to a Chartered Accountant, the audit report said the approved expenditure was Rs. 1,67, 64,827, and out of the balance of Rs. 88.36 lakhs, an amount of Rs. 20,95,350 was dissolved and the balance of Rs. 66,29,446 may be paid subject to consideration by the SAAP\Government. It also was pointed out that the details of bills don't depict how the money was spent. One of the proposals suggested was to let the WTA take care of the players' participation and other technical aspects and the Government directly look after the expenditure.

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