Leaving controversies behind, full steam ahead for CWG (60 days to go for Commonwealth Games)

August 2nd, 2010 - 7:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Unfinished work, monsoon rains and extended deadlines… with just 60 days to go for the Commonwealth Games, sceptics are having a field day. But the hurdles will be overcome, say officials, confident that India will host the best ever Commonwealth Games.
State of the art stadia, foolproof security and modern day transportation systems will be showcased for the world to see, the government and the organising committee of the Games have promised as the scramble continues to finish all the work in time for the Oct 3-14 event.

Although questions are being raised about delays in the completion of games projects, cost overruns and deals that have attracted adverse media attention, the organising committee is confident of putting up a good show for the Games for which Rs.15,000 crore (Rs.150 billion/over $3 billion) has been allocated.

“We are fully ready to host the Games successfully,” Lalit Bhanot, CWG secretary general, told IANS.

“All our functional areas are fully prepared and in the next two months there will be regular dress rehearsals. I am confident in the next 45 days we will address all the issues that are getting highlighted now. I can say the country will be proud of the conduct of the Games,” Bhanot said.

The Games will feature 17 disciplines to be held at six venue clusters and five stand-alone stadia in the metropolis of 17 million people, one of the most crowded in the world. The sale of tickets started in June and 1.7 million tickets are expected to be sold before the Games begin.

On Monday, the organising committee took over all the stadia - Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, Delhi University Sports Complex, Thyagaraj Stadium, Siri Fort Sports Complex, Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, Talkatora Stadium, SPM Swimming Pool Complex, R.K. Khanna Tennis Complex, and Yamuna Sports Complex as well as the Full Bore Shooting Range in suburban Gurgaon.

But there are plenty of challenges ahead.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has inaugurated all the venues, though unfinished work like cabling, landscaping and removal of debris remain. Recent incidents of waterlogging, seepage and even a roof collapse have raised questions about whether the deadline can ever be met.

The furnishing of flats, beautification and construction of the approach road is also incomplete at the much talked about Games village situated on the banks of river Yamuna.

The recent report of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has cast a long shadow. The corruption watchdog has pointed out poor quality of construction material and grant of work to ineligible agencies in several projects.

As per the CVC’s Chief Technical Examination Wing, large-scale procedural violations, including corruption, have been noticed in 16 projects.

Another scandal surfaced after India’s deputy high commissioner in London Rajesh N. Prasad wrote to the sports ministry about allegations of corruption made by the British government. It said 25,000 pounds a month sent from the CWG in India to a company, AM films, in Britain, was unaccounted for.

CWG committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi has vehemently denied all allegations, saying they were “baseless”.

The effort now is to overcome all the problems and push ahead full steam to ensure that everything is in place for D-day. With Oct 3 looming ahead, the state government has issued orders that work has to go on 24X7.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also shown satisfaction with the progress of work.

“I have reviewed the situation with the cabinet secretary and I am satisfied that all necessary preparations are in place and will be in place by the deadline,” Singh said last week at the joint press conference with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Dikshit has said Delhi will host the best-ever Games and there is no need to panic.

Officials and labourers are racing against time to complete all Games-related projects - landscaping, plantation, beautification, parking places, footover bridges, roads, renovating markets, hotels and buildings - to make the capital look like “a world-class city”.

Delhi Police has also assured participating countries that it will be a “safe and secure” Games.

“We assured them of a safe and secure environment during the event,” Neeraj Kumar, special commissioner (Administration), said.

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