Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Now a Monitoring Committee to Oversee Games Preparations

With barely three months left for the Commonwealth Games, the government seems to be getting serious about monitoring preparations by the organizing committee (OC).

In a move that insiders claim is aimed at ensuring greater participation of both ministry of sports and the Delhi government, the group of ministers (GoM) set up for the Games has come up with a monitoring committee to oversee the preparations. Interestingly, the committee that comprises 12 members has not only the top brass of the OC, including Chairperson Suresh Kalmadi, but also the chief secretary of the Delhi government, Rakesh Mehta, as well as secretary, sports ministry, Sindhushree Khullar. Ostensibly, the mandate of the committee is to aim for smoother implementation of the decisions of the GoM, as well as to look into the nitty-gritties of preparations for the Games.

Said a senior official, ‘‘There have been reports of preparations being behind schedule. At times, the OC has even complained that since much of the work is with government departments, there has been lack of communication. This committee will ensure that doesn’t happen.’’ In fact, sources say the presence of the Delhi CS as well as the secretary (sports) will ensure that OC cannot claim the lack of cooperation by government agencies for delays. One of the reasons for the delay has been the late handover of venues by the construction agencies.

Said Rakesh Mehta, Delhi CS, ‘‘From now on, many inter-departmental issues will come up (for the preparations). We should all be on the same page. This is why the committee has been set up.’’ Mehta admitted that detailed exchange of information was ‘‘needed’’ at this point, so that the decisions of the GoM are implemented at ‘‘every level’’. And while Mehta refused to comment on whether the setting up of the committee was an attempt to monitor the work of the OC, he admitted the presence of the government officials like him and Khullar, would ensure better ‘‘coordination’’.

OC officials denied the mandate of the committee was an effort to monitor the work of the organization. Said OC spokesperson, Lalit Bhanot, ‘‘It’s not at all an attempt to monitor our work, since most of the committee members are OC officials.’’ Bhanot, however, admitted that the committee would be monitoring day-to-day preparations and generate weekly reports.