Handout of Games gear announced

Surplus equipment from Olympic sites, which would cost more than 125 million euros on the market, will be handed out to the civil service and charities, among others, the government said yesterday. Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia said the government had come to a final decision as to how to allocate 60 percent of the items used during the Games, and will begin giving them out in a few days. She added that a decision on how to distribute the remaining 40 percent would soon be reached also. Among some 1.8 million items to be divvied up are a giant TV screen, 410,000 towels, 4,770 picture frames, 11,180 computers, 13,000 TV sets and 500 nine-seater minivans. The jumbo screen, which was situated outside the Olympic Stadium during the Games, alone cost 2.27 million euros. Sports apparatus used during the Olympics at stadiums and 50 municipal training centers will not be included in the process. «We sped up procedures in order to avoid wear and tear, items losing their value or going missing, as well as to save on the outlay for storage and security for all this equipment,» said Palli-Petralia. The items for distribution were bought using public money and have now passed into the hands of Olympic Properties SA, the company set up to manage Olympic venues. Among those receiving surplus items will be civil service departments, universities, the Church and emergency services. Palli-Petralia said that government offices which had already put out tenders to buy equipment and those in remote areas or islands would be among the first to be allocated equipment. She added that charities and organizations looking after people in need would also be given priority. The distribution of medical apparatus will be handled by the Health Ministry, which will allocate it to hospitals and welfare centers. «As the money for the Olympic sites and equipment literally came out of Greek taxpayers’ pockets, it is very important that we are very careful about how they are used to best effect,» said Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Petros Doukas.