IOC president says Commonwealth Games will be good

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 17:29

Singapore: IOC president Jacques Rogge
predicted Tuesday that the Commonwealth Games in India will be
a success, despite preparations being overshadowed by
corruption allegations and delays in venues being completed.

Things have become so bad in India that Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh appointed a new group of ministers to oversee
preparations, visit venues each week to monitor progress and
ensure contractors meet fresh deadlines.

The ministers were meeting in New Delhi on Sunday to plan
how to hasten lagging preparations for the events beginning
October 3 in the Indian capital.

Rogge, however, blamed much of the problems on
"pessimistic media" and said he the Commonwealth Games will
showcase India`s ability to host big sporting events.

"I`m optimistic in spite of everything written by
pessimist media for the Commonwealth Games," Rogge said.

"They will show the capacity of India to organize great
games."

Earlier this month, two top Indian officials were fired
amid corruption allegations involving the Queen`s Baton Relay
in London.

Organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, however,
resisted calls for his resignation and the government also
appeared unwilling to create more confusion by demanding he
quit at this late stage.

Singh also ordered "thorough investigations" into all
complaints that have been received about irregularities in
building standards, loss of revenue, or overpayments in
handing out contracts.

"All those found guilty should face severe and exemplary
punishment," Singh said.

However, punitive action against those responsible for
the delays and charges of clearing substandard construction or
other corrupt practices would only be taken after the games
finish on October 14.

"The public has a right to know the facts, and the
ministers will ensure that timely and authentic information on
the state of preparations and the remaining tasks is released
to the public," the statement said.

Faced with the embarrassing possibility of the venues not
being ready on time, Singh asked for a weekly report from the
ministers and ordered a top Cabinet official to coordinate
daily monitoring of preparations. He will visit the stadiums
at the end of August.

Singh was forced to step in following mounting pressure
from the national media and opposition parties in India
demanding that the government take action against Kalmadi, who
they hold primarily responsible for the delays and
irregularities.

Last week, India`s Central Vigilance Commission issued a
report highlighting shoddy building practices and potential
problems surrounding the certification of work on games sites.
Construction delays have meant that none of the games venues
would be finished before deadline.

With infrastructure projects around the city also well
behind schedule, the Indian capital is in a race against time
to be ready to host the Oct. 3-14 Commonwealth Games _ the
biggest sporting event in the country since the 1982 Asian
Games.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 17:29

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