Indian Decade

Govt Must Keep Hands Off IPL

There are many lessons from the cricket debacle. But the idea of govt control isn’t one of them.

With all the controversy surrounding the Indian Premier League, and suggestions that the governing council that runs it has managed a small, cosy club of benefactors to swing multi-million dollar deals to enrich itself, it seems every politician has hijacked the discussion to berate private sector ‘greed’ for landing us here.

But as much as a mess as the IPL is currently in, none of us—least of all those in the game—should look forward to the idea of ‘nationalized’ regulation of the extremely successful cricket league. Our government has enough to worry about, and they’d be wise to understand their limitations. It’s a feeling that repeatedly reinforces itself to the rest of us, like it did me last weekend during a visit to Delhi’s famous Nehru Planetarium. I thought it’d be the perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon, especially since it would help us escape Delhi’s oppressive summer heat.

Alas, it was nothing of the kind. The planetarium has been stuck in a time warp—little had changed, and what had was worse since I visited it more than 15 years ago. The narration, I’m confident, was the same, the seats were frayed, and there was that funny, musty smell that is so characteristic of our government establishments.

Situated in a stunning property in Delhi’s majestic Lutyens zone, the planetarium is supported by government funds, and there can be no excuses for such reckless neglect. Of course, we need to get to the bottom of the mounting pile of financial irregularities the IPL finds itself in, and flush with funds franchisees should be brought to book if they have flouted norms. But, given a choice between overriding private and individual greed and gross wastage of public money, give me an IPL any day. It might be murky, but at least it entertains!