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CWG Imbroglio: Kalmadi hits back at Sheila Dikshit

Sunday, October 17, 2010 07:14:18 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Sunday hit back at Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit for casting aspersions on it, saying this was "disappointing" and "uncalled for."

Kalmadi strongly defended the OC and said that despite a series of attacks in the runup to the Games, he was quiet, but this should not be taken as weakness.

"Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's aspersions on corruption in the OC are most "disappointing and uncalled for. It is not right to deflect and point fingers at others when she must indulge in self-reflection on corruption in her own departments. She has said that the ways of the Organising Committee are mysterious whereas the Commonwealth Games chief, Mr. Michael Fennell, declared the conduct of the Games as exceptional and successful," Kalmadi said in a statement.

Kalmadi also criticised Dikshit's attempt to take sole credit for getting the Games Village ready in time.

"The Games have succeeded because of the efforts of Team India, including a large number of people and agencies and not any individual. Mrs. Dikshit's attempt to take credit for getting the Games Village ready in time does not fit with the team concept. The lieutenant governor of Delhi and the Organising Committee, who were preparing the Village for over two years, co-ordinated the work of a number of agencies to ensure that it was entirely ready to welcome the athletes."

"We have already welcomed the prime minister's decision to set up a probe panel and have said that we will support it. We are sure that the terms of reference of the Shunglu Committee will include not just the scope of work undertaken by the OC at a budget of
Rs.1,620 crore but also the Rs.16,000 crore spent by the Delhi government."

Kalmadi, in his first strong statement since the OC came under a corruption cloud, said his patience should not be seen as a sign of weakness.

"The OC was constantly being criticised for delays and shoddy work when we were not at all involved in any construction activity. Unmindful, we kept defending the venues and infrastructure and reassured the Games family that everything would be ready in time for the Games.

"I was quiet as I wanted the Games to succeed. Keeping quiet should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Nor should patience be seen as a sign of guilt. It was more important to focus on the task of conducting the Games well.

"National pride was at stake and I didn't want that to be affected," Kalmadi maintained.

"Our challenge was to keep the morale of our workforce of over 4,000 high. We succeeded in doing that and ensuring the smooth delivery of the largest ever Commonwealth Games. But, on Dusshera day, I owe it to the OC that we speak out. We don't want to be the scapegoats anymore," he added.

Kalmadi also listed out the responsibilities undertaken by the government for the Games.

"In 2005, in the overall scheme of preparation for the Games, government laid down the following institutional arrangement:

"Sports infrastructure is to be developed by government agencies and funded directly by the government. The development, upgradation and improvement of the city infrastructure are to be done by the government of Delhi with the support of the government of India.

"The responsibility for the conduct and delivery of the Games is of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi," he said.

Kalmadi said he is proud that the world has declared that conduct of the Games was faultless, with all competitions being held as per schedule.

"A massive amount of work was done in planning and preparing for the Games by innumerable people under the guidance of the Indian Olympic Association and the National Sports Federations. The execution of these plans was impeccable. It led OC to deliver the spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremonies that were overseen by the Group of Ministers," Kalmadi pointed out.

Blaming Dikshit for the delays in infrastructure mess, Kalmadi said reports of lapses in getting the city infrastructure ready caused many teams to believe that Games could not be held.

"When the foot overbridge near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsed, it led to doubts about the safety of the people. Reports of delays in getting the city ready also caused many teams to believe that Games could not be held. We had to do a lot of hand-holding and cajoling to ensure that the full complement of 71 nations and territories took part in the Games."

"We would like to point out that all decisions in the OC are made by the Executive Board, which includes two representatives each of the central and Delhi governments. And the Prime Minister's Office deputed a number of government officers to work with the Organising Committee."

"Transparency and accountability remain the watch words in the OC. We are confident that the guilty will not be spared irrespective of which agency they belong to," Kalmadi maintained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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