New Delhi: Clipping the wings of controversial Commonwealth Games chief Suresh Kalmadi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday gave overriding powers to a Committee of Secretaries, headed by Cabinet Secretary, to supervise preparations for the October event.
With just 50 days left for the mega sporting event that has been surrounded by controversies, Singh also empowered the Group of Ministers, headed by Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy to take "all decisions necessary" for its smooth conduct. The GoM may refer any matter that may require further consideration to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for a final decision.
Chairing a meeting to review preparations for the Games, Singh observed that there have been "slippages" in time schedules and deficiencies noticed.
He directed that thorough investigations should be held by the ministries concerned into complaints of "procedural and other irregularities" and "those found guilty should face severe and exemplary punishment". Singh instructed that all pending works be completed expeditiously in a time-bound manner and decided to visit select venues of the Games in the last week of this month.
"The Committee of Secretaries, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, will continue to review implementation and it will have the status of an Empowered Committee. It will have jurisdiction over matters relating to the Organising Committee," said a PMO statement after the 90-minute meeting.
The decision to bring OC in the ambit of Committee of Secretaties, which has so far been liaisoning with the OC, is significant as questions have been raised over it and charges of corruption against its top brass, including Kalmadi. "A Secretary-level officer of the Cabinet Secretariat will liaise with the Organising Committee on a daily basis," the statement said. The Cabinet will be briefed on the state of preparations on a weekly basis.
The meeting, held against the backdrop of intense controversies surrounding the conduct of the event, was attended by Sports Ministers M S Gill, Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, Delhi Lt Governor Tejender Khanna, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Organising Committee (OC) Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar and Home Secretary G K Pillai. PTI
The Group of Ministers for the Commonwealth Games, which has now been empowered to take all necessary decicions for the smooth conduct of the event, will meet here on Sunday to take stock of the preparations in the wake of the corruption scandals that have rocked the event.
It will be the first meeting of the Group of Ministers after the alleged corruption scandals and comes a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's emergency review meeting on the Games. The Group of Ministers, headed by Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, had been directed by the Prime Minister to meet immediately and frequently thereafter.
Apart from Reddy, Sports Minister M S Gill, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi are among those who will be present at the meeting. The Cabinet Secretary was also directed to liaise closely with the Group of Ministers to ensure "effective coordination" among all the authorites concerned.
At the meeting, the GoM was empowered to take all decisions necessary for the smooth conduct of the Games and refer any matter that may require further consideration to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for a final decision.
"All the facilities must meet international standards," the Prime Minister underlined and expressed confidence that the ongoing preparations supervised directly the GoM would enable the Games to be conducted smoothly and in a befitting manner", the PMO said in a statement. The Cabinet will be briefed on the state of preparations on a weekly basis, the statement added.
Oscar-winning music director A R Rahman will make a presentation of his theme song for the Commonwealth Games at a meeting of a Group of Ministers on Sunday .
Sources said the idea was to ensure that the song becomes a sensation like his own 'Jai Ho' and Soccer World Cup theme song 'Waka Waka'.
Rahman will make the presentation of the song before the GoM, which has now been empowered to take all necessary decisions for the smooth conduct of the event.
It will be the first meeting of the Group of Ministers after alleged corruption scandals hit the Games and comes a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's emergency review meeting on preparations for the mega sporting event. PTI