PM defends PMO decision to take CWG charge

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday defended his decision to take charge of the preparations of the XIXth Commonwealth Games.

On Board Air India One: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday defended his decision to take charge of the preparations of the XIXth Commonwealth Games that were held in New Delhi from October 03 to 14, when the Organising Committee of the Games was faced with charges of corruption and mismanagement.

Interacting with media persons accompanying him a three-nation visit (to Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam) on a wide range of subjects onboard his special aircraft, Dr Singh said it was not good for the system if he or his office were to look into all complaints.

The Prime Minister made the comment when a journalist asked him whether he could have intervened to prevent the corruption charges surrounding the October 03-14 Commonweatlh Games.

"I think post facto one can find fault with anything," he told reporters.

"I don`t thing it`s good for the system if all things have to be handled by the prime minister of his office. We have instrumentalities," he said.

He further said: “We have instrumentalities, we have ministries and institutions charged with specific responsibilities. They should be entrusted to accomplish the task.”

It maybe recalled that the Central Government and the ruling Congress party had expressed their ``deep concern`` in the month of September over complaints regarding the preparations of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Delhi.

“No doubt civil society and the political class are deeply concerned. Nation`s prestige is at stake. Every possible sinew will be strained to ensure that we come out with flying colours in this test of India`s ability to hold the games,” the then Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said.

The Prime Minister’s Office took a decision to step in when the government was faced with both national and international condemnation, and there was a real threat of a pullout by most of the over 50 countries that were scheduled to participate.

The Prime Minister appointed a Group of Ministers and a Group of Secretaries committees to oversee the games preparation, and asked both to report to him on progress being made at regular intervals.

The government faced vociferous protests from the opposition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over issues like corruption and financial misappropriation and poor infrastructure, but it countered that it would make every possible effort to hold the Games successfully.

The Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), Mike Hooper, had at that time said that the state of cleanliness at the Games Village was "filthy".

Security was also a major issue, but at the end, the event passed off smoothly.

About two million tourists saw the Games. In all, about 10,000 athletes from 71 teams representing 54 Commonwealth member states, participated.