Go Kalmadi Go. Games can’t be a bigger fiasco without you.

If CWG flops in the process, so be it! National pride can’t permit brazen loot of public money and gross incompetence

prasanna

Prasanna Mohanty | August 4, 2010




With each passing day, the Commonwealth Games’ preparations are turning out to be a big embarrassment. Less than two months to go, the infrastructure – stadiums, living quarters of the players and practice grounds – is not in place. All norms have been violated to allow contractors to carry out substandard jobs but make money by the piles. Sports equipments and accessories have been “hired” for prices several times higher than the actual cost. The entire capital is dug up. First rains have already exposed what a shoddy job the renovation work on our stadiums has been. And the cost of the Games has overrun several times the estimate – from less than Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 35,000 crore at the last count.

To top it all, the brazenness of Suresh Kalmadi, the Organising Committee chairman and the man behind the show, knows no bounds. The other day he waved a document to justify siphoning of a huge sum of money to a dubious UK-based firm and now it turns out that the document was doctored! It is difficult to imagine Kalmadi didn’t know, even though he himself didn’t doctor the document, that the Indian High Commission’s letter couldn’t have been genuine. It didn’t have a list of high commission-approved firms, but just one name and was forwarded from the private email id of a junior staff. Worse, a substantial part of payment went to a subsidiary of this firm which has since then filed for bankruptcy!

But none of these are enough to shame Kalmadi. Why, he wouldn’t even sack his key men found to have been involved in financial irregularities and whose ouster the sports ministry had sought by writing to him twice. One of them, Dr Sanjay Mahindroo, it now transpires, had asked the UK-based firm to inflate the bills! Kalmadi's answer so far has been that he will set up inquiries to find out  who are guilty.

No sir, don't try to find out who is guilty. Others can do that job just as well, if not better. You as chairman of the Games' Organising Committee are responsible for the big fiasco it has turned out to be.

And since you can't be sacked because you, as president of the Indian Olympic Association (which was given the job of holding the CWG by the Commonwealth Games Federation), have appointed yourself as chairman of the Organising Committee, please go!

We know, there could be some minor inconveniences, but certainly the situation can’t get any worse without you.

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