M A I N   N E W S

PM steps in to clean CWG mess
l Says those found guilty will face exemplary punishment l Gives power to panel of secretaries to supervise Games
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, August 14
With controversies dogging the upcoming Commonwealth Games and doubts being raised about the state of preparations for it, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called a high-level review meeting today and decided on a series of measures to fast-track the completion of pending projects through time-bound action plans to ensure the smooth conduct of the upcoming sporting event.

Although there was no mention of the ongoing corruption charges against Organising Committee (OC) chairman Suresh Kalmadi during this meeting, the Prime Minister took note of the growing public sentiment and opposition outcry on this matter and issued directions to all ministries concerned to conduct thorough investigations into all complaints and irregularities.

“Those found guilty should face severe and exemplary punishment,” he stressed.

Acknowledging that people have a right to know the facts, he promised that “timely and authentic”information about the preparations would henceforth be released to the public. The PM will be visiting the CWG venues later this month.

While the investigations into the irregularities are expected to continue till well after the games, the mood at today’s meeting was to “focus on the games” and work single-mindedly towards delivering a world-class event. The deliberations were conducted on the assumption that the beleagured Kalmadi will continue in his present job as the government realises that it will not help to “change horses midstream.”

The PM has, however, clipped his wings by activating the administrative machinery which is to work, coordinate and liase with the OC in the run-up to the October event.

He authorised a group of ministers (GOM) headed by Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy to meet soon and complete all pending work related to the Games immediately. It has been empowered to take all necessary decisions related to the smooth conduct of the Games. He also gave overriding powers to a committee of secretaries, headed by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekhar, giving it the status of an empowered committee. It will have jurisdiction over the OC while a secretary-level officer from the Cabinet Secretariat will be deputed to liaise with the OC on a daily basis.

The Cabinet Secretary was directed to liaise closely with the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the CWG to ensure effective coordination among all authorities concerned.

The meeting, held at the Prime Minister's residence, was attended by Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister MS Gill, Delhi Lt-Governor Tejendra Khanna,, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister TKA Nair, Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar, Home Secretary GK Pillai and Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

While all ministers concerned and Kalmadi assured the meeting that “they were on top of the task”, the PM did point out that there had been slippages in the time schedule of some of the construction works and deficiencies had also been observed in some of the works. The mess at Connaught Place came in for criticism during the discussions and the PM was also informed that the Shivaji Stadium, meant for the training sessions, will not be ready in time. The PM said in the run up to the Games, it was important to gain public confidence by instilling order and carrying out effective supervision of the preparation works.

The Prime Minister’s action came a day after the Congress core group, headed by party president Sonia Gandhi, discussed this matter where it was decided to leave it to the government to take corrective measures relating to the Games.





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