» Sports » PM slams Dikshit, Gill at emergency Games meet, results start showing

PM slams Dikshit, Gill at emergency Games meet, results start showing

By Sheela Bhatt
September 24, 2010 17:17 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired an emergency meeting at this residence on Thursday night to tackle the Commonwealth Games and made no secret of his anguish, and anger, over the shoddy preparations that have marred the build-up to the October 3 to 14 extravaganza.

With all the reports of "filth" in the Games Village really hitting the country's image hard, he took Sports Minister M S Gill and even Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to task. According to sources Lt. Governor of New Delhi Tejinder Khanna was "shivering" while responding to him.

- Commonwealth Games 2010

A senior source in the government said the PM was so upset by the inefficiency of the Games' organising committee that he was not ready to listen to excuses and even bluntly told Gill to keep quiet.

Dr Singh, who is indeed echoing the feelings of many Indians, said he doesn't want further debate on the shoddy preparations.

Normally he never loses his cool, but the acute embarrassment Suresh Kalmadi, Dikshit and Gill have brought upon the country could no longer be taken lightly in the corridors of power.

Salvaging efforts are being supervised by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar and the Group of Ministers.

At the meeting, Dr Singh was informed that 97 per cent of the work at various venues was complete and wherever there are glitchesm private contractors have been called in to sort out the matter.

He directed Dikshit, Gill and Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy to make sure that there is no further embarrassment.

It now seems that things are falling into place, as most of the participating nations have agreed to fly to Delhi. On Friday morning the arrival of 60-plus athletes from Great Britain brought welcome relief to the organisers.

"We are excited," said their manager.

Commonwealth Games Federation chief Mike Fennell will submit his final report on India's preparedness for the Games on Saturday.

In and around all the venues, security guards are in position. The Barapullah bridge that will transport athletes to the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium will be inaugurated later on Friday.

That's the first whiff of fresh air in the depressing build-up to the Games.

A security guard at the Barapullah bridge, manning the signal system near Nizamuddin area, summed up the mood. Looking to the sunny sky, he said, "Mausam badal raha hai [the weather is changing]!"

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi