first_imgFacing heat for inefficiency and mismanagement in preparations to the Games, Organising Committee (OC) chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Saturday tried to deflect some of the criticism, saying he was not solely responsible for the delays and the shoddy work.”I don’t think the OC is responsible for it,” Kalmadi said, referring to the situation at the Games Village flats which has prompted visiting athletes to stay at hotels for the time being.”The last 18 towers were handed to us just three days back and we have been working on these Games for the past few years. I wish all the venues were handed over to me earlier.We would have done a better job,” he told reporters with Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Mike Fennell and CEO Mike Hooper by his side.However, Kalmadi refused to step down. “My job is to conduct the Games and I will do that. I am not going to quit.” He pointed out that several other agencies were responsible for projects related to the Games.”Contrary to popular belief that the OC had the right to spend `30-40,000 crore on the organisation, we only had `1,600 crore allotted. The rest was taken care of by the government and the Indian Olympic Association. “Everyone had fixed responsibilities. Our job was to ensure that the athletes of all the countries reach safely and ensure that their stay is comfortable,” Kalmadi said.”We have some issues in the Games Village but I think it is a fine Vil-lage. Only that some blocks have to be cleaned up. But all the infrastructure is good. The international zone, the food, the kitchen are good. I can assure you that our aim is to host a good Games. Our aim is to do as good as Melbourne did in 2006,” a defensive Kalmadi said.advertisementHe also sounded optimistic of finishing all work in time for the Games. “There are still eight days left for the Games, and we will, in the next few days, finish all the work that needs to be done,” he said.He even said that athletes were made to stay in a university hostel during the 2002 Manchester Games. He avoided a direct answer when asked whether the mess meant India cannot hope to host the Olympics. “We will answer that question once the Games are over.”He also sought to redress security concerns in the wake of the recent shooting incident near Jama Masjid. “We have had a CGF adviser who has been monitoring the progress of the work every second month,” he said.Elaborating on the security arrangements, Kalmadi explained that there will be two police patrol cars – one in front and the other behind every team bus. An armed police person will also be present in the bus. Later, accompanying journalists at the Games Village, Kalmadi also urged them to look at the overall class of the Village, which he termed ‘fantastic’.Pawar makes fun of his one-time protegeUnion agriculture minister Sharad Pawar decided to take a dig at Suresh Kalmadi, the man who is fast becoming the topic of most SMS jokes. Speaking at a public function in Pune, Pawar came up with a joke.”Nowadays, I am hearing a story that due to severe criticism, the chief of the organising committee decided to commit suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling, but ironically, the ceiling came down. Maybe the quality of the ceiling was not good,” he chuckled, drawing forth laughter from his supporters.Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) functionaries said that they were waiting for an attack to come from Pawar for a long time. “He chose the right moment and spoke at the right place. The statement would not have had the desired effect in Delhi, but Pune is a different matter as it is the bastion of Kalmadi,” an NCP leader said. He added that the Kalmadi- Pawar fight is an old one.”Kalmadi was once Pawar’s protg. But their relationship soured to such an extent that Kalmadi left the Congress and returned only when Pawar quit the Congress to form the NCP.” Pawar’s speech was an attempt to lampoon Kalmadi, who is already under a lot of fire for the CWG’s mismanagement.last_img

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