Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kalmadi should've been sacked a year before CWG: Shunglu panel

NEW DELHI: The Centre's decision to depute a chief executive for the Commonwealth Games was too little and too late as Suresh Kalmadi should have been sacked a year before the event, the V KShunglu committee has said. 

Dubbing as totally inadequate ex-sports minister M S Gill's September 25, 2009 advice to PMManmohan Singh that handpicking a CEO and a set of officers was the "essential minimum", the committee said, "Nothing short of the removal of Kalmadi could resolve the issue." 

In its final report on governance issues, the panel starkly said, "The question then is was it not obvious to the government that nothing short of Kalmadi's removal would resolve the issue. Confrontation (2006-08) had failed, cooperation had led to no improvement (2008-09). There was no choice but to sack Kalmadi. "In his letter, Gill had said, "I have had intensive meetings with Kalmadi and Randhir Singh, the secretary general, Delhi CM, the cabinet secretary and T K A Nair. We have devised a line of action to strengthen the OC management immediately. The structure cannot be changed, but this is the essential minimum now, with no time to lose." 

Indicting the sports ministry, the panel said, "The department of sports had failed, and at some level was complicit." In fact, so inefficient was the budget planning and expenditure estimates that in the end only Rs 3,188 was left unspent. Although the panel said that deputing a retired PMO hand Jarnail Singh as CEO did not help, it had a good word for officers like Jiji Thomson and Sanjeev Mittal, who held charge of catering and ticketing in the face of Kalmadi's hostility. 

It is interesting to find that the Shunglu committee's revelations indicate the decision against removing Kalmadi—as the "structure cannot be changed" remark indicates—was a result of discussions involving the PMO. 

The report said it was commonly known that the OC was ruled by "Kalmadi and his cabal". According to it, Kalmadi called the shots or authorized certain henchmen to do so. "The numerous drawbacks in the organization of the Games and the excessive cost are attributable to his flawed decisions." 

Going back to when the BJP-led NDA was in power, the panel blamed the party's erstwhile Bhopal MP and former sports minister Vikram Verma for not pressing Kalmadi on his claims to deliver a revenue neutral Games. "Commencing February 2003 to the end of that year, Kalmadi and Verma shared a warm relationship," the report said. 

The Shunglu committee, whose detailed and well documented reports have sparked off a deep unease in the government, pointed out that the Jaipal Reddy-headed GoM set up to oversee the Games had failed to deliver. "Even if an oversight role was contemplated for the GoM, in practice it was unable to assert that role," it said. 

Looking at the GoM's record, the panel pointed out that it had failed to act on a sports ministry proposal to curtail the Kalmadi-led OC. "At the 13th meeting of the GoM (held on March 10, 2008), the youth affairs and sports ministry made a powerful plea for restricting the absolute power of the organizing committee by making a suitable amendment to the memorandum of the organizing committee," the report said. Noting that the reports to the GoM were scratchy, it said, "These (progress reports) are low on content and it is anybody's guess what is going on." The panel also pulled up the urban development ministry for its inconsistent supervision of Games-related projects like the Games Village where it acquiesced to a bailout for the builder. 

The panel felt the "implicit decision to conduct the Games through a private non-profit society was an error of judgment compounded by the personality of its chairman for whom the difference between fact and fiction was academic. Emergency measures ameliorated the situation but at a very high cost". 

Pointing out that a little over Rs 28,000 crore was spent on organizing the Games, which was a "galactic jump" from Rs 300–400 crore estimated in April–May 2003 and reiterated by Kalmadi in August 2003 prior to the Cabinet approval in September 2003, the committee said that at no stage was an overall budget prepared by the sports ministry or required by the finance ministry or Cabinet.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Extraminds feeds

NDTV News - Top Stories

There was an error in this gadget

Latest Happenings all around the world Headline Animator