Monday, December 21, 2009

Sheila Dikshit Worried over Delays

A day after Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell expressed “great disappointment” over the delays in venue construction, chief minister Sheila Dikshit betrayed her own anxiety, admitting she was ‘‘certainly worried’’ and ‘‘nervous’’ about the lagging projects.

Hours after a meeting of the group of ministers, Dikshit told TOI: ‘‘We are fairly on course with our projects yet even a delay of a month worries me. So, it would not be surprising that other agencies would be worried. There are different agencies involved and each is facing its own set of problems and are working to resolve them.’’

Echoing Fennell’s observations which came after his tour on Saturday, Dikshit said completion of the stadiums was a major worry. ‘‘I only keep praying we won’t let the country down,’’ the CM said. She, however, hastened to add, ‘‘we will do everything possible to see (to it) that the country is not let down.’’

Fennell had, the day before, warned organizers that further delay would impact ‘‘operational planning’’ and test events to be held at the venues ahead of the Games. While steering clear of the CGF president’s comments, Dikshit said several projects had been waylaid by ‘‘unpredictable’’ developments, referring to the ASI notice to stop work on the elevated road over the Barapullah Nallah, a crucial link between the Games village and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

She also attributed some of the delays to the absence of a single overseeing authority until the PM set up the group of ministers.

Union sports minister MS Gill conceded the organizers were doing a ‘‘catching-up’’ job but assured that the stadiums and other infrastructure would be ready well before the October 3-14 Games. ‘‘Whatever time has been lost since 2003, we are trying to make up. God willing, we will get there in good time,’’ Gill said, adding a clear direction on the final plans would be given after the next GoM meeting on December 29.