The government was cornered in Rajya Sabha about its preparations for the Commonwealth Games to be held here in October next year.
Responding to clarifications sought on his statement on a calling attention motion on the games, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports M.S. Gill sought to assure members that all preparations for the multi-discipline event would be completed well in time to ensure that the country hosts the games successfully.
“The responsibility for the conduct and delivery of the games is of the Organising Committee. For this purpose, the OC is funded upfront by the government as a loan, to be recouped on the basis of revenue neutrality. The development, up gradation and improvement of the city infrastructure, are to be done by the government of Delhi, with support of the government of India,” he added.
“The estimated cost of the competition and training venues is around Rs. 4, 100 crores. Financial sanctions for all the stadia have been accorded and work is progressing at a rapid pace,” he said, while admitting that there were delays in construction work of some of the venues.
He also said that an additional requirement of 30,000 rooms to host the visitors was being developed in and around Delhi. Guest houses were being upgraded and housing units of the Delhi Development Authority would be operated as guest houses. The Ministry of Home and the Lt. Governor of Delhi were taking steps to ensure that the games were incident-free and held in a safe and secure environment.
Earlier, seeking clarifications, Kalraj Mishra (BJP) said of the 17 venues work was completed only at two. Last-minute allotment of tenders and enhancing the budget pointed to the large-scale misuse of money and corruption.
Urging the Minister to seek help and cooperation of other parties and State governments to meet targets, Samajwadi Party member Jaya Bachchan said, “By now we should have started the drills for traffic, security and the games.Instead, at the pace that we are going, I fear that we might become a laughing stock. You have the baby in your lap but no nursemaid.”
N.K. Singh (JD-U) said there were “too many cooks in the kitchen” and wondered whether there was any “principal chef” who could coordinate.
Pointing to the “ugly conflict” between the Organizing Committee and Commonwealth Games Federation, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the government should ensure that a situation of “less of sports and more of a clash of personality” did not emerge when the games begin.
He said by delaying the infrastructure and other works, the government lost the advantage the host country has towin more medals and get better revenue.