Guwahati shamed by poor snacks a day after stone attack on Aussies
The city administration has ordered a magisterial probe into substandard snacks served at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, the venue for Group E matches of the ongoing U-17 World Cup soccer. The probe followed complaints lodged by officials and spectators.
“A four-member committee that includes the chief food security officer conducted an investigation into the quality of snacks such as popcorn being prepared, packed and sold,” Kamrup (Metropolitan) deputy commissioner M Angamuthu said.
Preliminary investigation revealed a Delhi-based firm named Standard Sweet and Caterers was given the contract to serve snacks during the tournament.
But the firm gave a sub-contract to one Rahul Kumar of Thakurpukur in Kolkata, who in turn assigned the job to Bipul Saha of Barasat. Saha then gave the responsibility of producing, packing and selling the snacks to Kolkata’s Mani Mohan Biswas.
“Our team inspected a factory near the stadium where the snacks were being produced. The factory was sealed for not adhering to food safety norms,” Angamuthu said.
The vendors, officials said, would be penalised after the probe is completed.
For Guwahati, hosting international sporting events, this is the second embarrassment in two days. On Tuesday, the Australian cricket team bus was damaged when miscreants pelted stones after the second T20 match against India at the Barsapara cricket stadium here.
The Fifa Under-17 World Cup that got under way last week was always going to throw up a lot of questions. How, for example, would the young Indian team fare against stronger, better-prepared opponents? Or which new once-in-ageneration footballer would be unearthed? Would we see the next Lionel Messi or Mesut Özil or Neymar in action?
There’s one question, however, that has overshadowed all of these: Are the organizers actively trying to keep this tournament a secret? Given the scale of the event—it’s arguably the biggest football event India has hosted—there’s little or no buzz about it. The tournament has barely begun, but it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to already term it a colossal marketing failure.
Which is terribly unfortunate given what a massive opportunity this is.
Over the last few years, India’s top sports broadcaster, Star, has shown that there is a way to bring other sports out of the giant shadow cricket casts (disclaimer: the writer was formerly employed with Star India). A lot of what it has done is simple but effective, like focusing on creating heroes, generating excitement, and building engaging storylines. Some of the coverage might come across as over-thetop, and all that excitement does on occasion feel manufactured, but the bottom line is that it seems to be working.
Almost entirely on the back of marketing, sports like kabaddi and domestic football have become sexy.
The marketing around the World Cup seems almost apolo-
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