Rising costs will not hamper Games work, says minister

June 13th, 2008 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) Sports Minister M.S. Gill Friday made it clear that rising costs will not be allowed to hamper the construction and renovation of the stadiums for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Gill said he is expecting the cost of construction to shoot up owing to the rising prices of raw materials, but the government will pool to share the additional burden.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Thursday approved a sum of Rs.6.78 billion for the New Delhi Games.

Gill, who visited some city stadia, expressed satisfaction with the progress of the construction and renovation work at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here. He also met officials from the Sports Authority of India and various agencies that are overseeing the work.

“Cost of construction is expected to go up owing to the increase in prices of raw materials. But we are prepared for it and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured us all help,” Gill told reporters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Gill’s words must have come as sweet music for the organisers of the Games as the Indian Olympic Association officials and the sports ministry were at loggerheads during Gill’s predecessor Mani Shankar Aiyar’s tenure.

The IOA resented Aiyar’s open criticism of the huge budget allocation for the Games infrastructure as he felt the money could have been utilised for raising the standards of Indian sport.

Gill, who took over the ministry in April, said the government has cleared all funds required for the mega event.

“All the expenditure has been cleared by the government, except the Rs. 200 million for a shooting range. I am confident even that will be approved soon,” Gill said.

The organising committee had come in for criticism for the tardy pace of construction and renovation, but the minister is now confident that the work will finish on time.

“I am satisfied with the work. It is a collective effort and is going on in a harmonious way. A lot of work has been done and lot has to be done. All the stadiums will be handed over to the organising committee by November 2009 and after that they can start testing the venues,” he said.

Gill also said he was expecting India to win medals at the Beijing Olympics and more than 100 medals at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.

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