Thursday, August 19, 2010


19 Aug 2010


R Rajagopalan/Jal Khambata
NEW DELHI: The Commonwealth Games control finally came in the government's hands on Thursday, with ten senior bureaucrats of joint secretary rank moving in to take charge of the scams-hit Organising Committee headed by Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi to ensure hiccups in the mega internatonal event do not smudge India's reputation.

Though all Organising Committee officials have been told that they will be answerable to these bureaucrats henceforth, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) sources claimed the new arrangement does not amount to the takeover of the committee registered in 2005 as an autonomous body. The bureaucrats have been deputed to assist the committee, they affirmed. Kalmadi and company, however, will be there now only for namesake as decorative figures with no powers to take decisions.

Orders to the bureaucrats, who will be functioning from the organising committee headquarters in the NDMC building on the Parliament Street, are quite clear. They have to take charge of different Games venue and will be responsible if anything goes wrong at the venues under their command.

LINE-UP: A senior secretary of the Cabinet Secretariat has been also posted with the organising committee, with overriding powers over Kalmadi and other top executives. The bureaucrats posted at the Games venues will be reporting to him for any urgent government actions necessary, the PMO sources said.

They said posting of the bureaucrats completes the new arrangement ordered by the Prime Minister last Saturday after holding a meeting with all stakeholders involved in making arrangements for the Games, expressing his concern over irregularities and delays that necessiated the government's intervention.

SONIA'S STRESS: The new arrangement in place with just 45 days to go for the Games comes on a day when Congress President Sonia Gandhi described the event as a "matter of national pride" and called for all efforts to make it a success. 

She made it clear at a meeting of the Congress MPs that she would see to it that nobody involved in corruption in making arrangements for the Games will be spared. She also congratulated the Prime Minister for taking the arrangements in his hand by appointing a Group of Ministers (GoMs) to handle the remaining preparations and make the Games successful.

NO COST OVERRUNS!: Meanwhile, the government claimed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that various agencies engaged in the Commonwealth Games projects, including upgradation and augmentation of Delhi city's infrastructure, have not overshot expenditure as against the estimated or approved amounts and in fact the expenditure incurred so far is much less in many cases despite the cost overruns because of change of scope of work, additions to make venues meet various standards, adoption of richer specifications and revisions in detailed designs.

"Agencies responsible for implementation of the Games-related projects have informed that many projects have been completed and some projects are at advanced stage of completion," Saugata Roy, a junionr minister to Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy, said in a written reply to Bharatkumar Raut. In reply to another question by BJP's Maya Singh, he also put on record the irregularities pinpointed by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on the basis of intensive examination of 16 works by its technical unit.

If the minister's reply is to be believed, far more amounts were sanctioned for various projects than the actual need. Here are details of funds sanctioned and expenditure incurred as given by the minister:

-- Sports Authority of India and CPWD responsible for stadia and streetscaping around Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, venue for opening and closing ceremonies and some sports events, were sanctioned Rs 2477.46 crores while the expenditure incurred so far is Rs 1927.05 crores.

-- Delhi Government: Sanctioned Rs 5336.49 crores for stadium, flyovers, road improvement, streetscaping, street lighting, road signages and development of park. Expenditure made Rs 3898.83 crores.

-- Delhi Development Authority (DDA): Sanctioned Rs 1405 crores for Games village, competition and training venues, beautification and construction of flyovers and renovation of foothpaths. Expenditure incurred Rs 960 crores.

-- Municipal Corporation of Delhi : Sanctioned Rs 751.85 crores for beautification and construction of flyovers and renovation of footpaths. Expenditure made Rs 513 crores.

-- New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC): Sanctioned Rs 385.52 crores for Talkatora Stadium and for beautification of NDMC area, construction of footover bridges, streetscaping, etc. Expenditure made Rs 196.26 crores. 

-- Delhi University, Jamia Millia and Delhi Public School, RKM: Sanctioned Rs 350.71 crores for competition and training venues. Expenditure made Rs 278.73 crores.

-- All India Tennis Association: Rs 65.65 crores for renovating R K Khanna Tennis Stadium. Expenditure incurred Rs 60.15 crores.

-- CRPF: Rs 28.50 crores for Kadarpur Shooting Range, Gurgaon. Expenditure made Rs 25.31 crores.


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