New Delhi: Rejecting suggestions that the government has clipped his wings by appointing a committee of bureaucrats, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee's embattled Chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Thursday insisted that he is still the boss and the panel was instituted on his request. Reacting sharply to suggestions that government committee's appointment has virtually stripped him of his authority.
"There have been news reports that 10 government officers have come but they have been appointed at our request. The OC requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the final stage of the Games has come and we need government officers," Kalmadi told PTI.
"They have come to coordinate, they are going to support us. Everytime you say Kalmadi's wings are being clipped. Let me tell you I am a former pilot," the Indian Olympic Association chief remarked sarcastically.
"To put the finishing touches to the arrangement, we need the support of the government. At this stage, it is very crucial that we get all the work done in time and therefore we need senior officers from the government so that the coordination work is done quickly. This arrangement will only help us complete the task," he added. Kalmadi, however, acknowledged the Games preparations remain a work in progress with just 45 days to go.
"We are in the final lap in the run up to the Games. There are just 27 days left for athletes to arrive at the Games Village and 45 days left for the opening ceremony," he said in a press conference alongside Commonwealth Games Federation chief Mike Fennel;l, who was here on an inspection trip.
"This is short time and we have to do a lot of work. Prime Minister has said in his speech that we have to celebrate the Games as a national festival and I want to assure that the OC is going to do it's best to live up to this dream," he said.
"I would like to thank Mr Fennell and the CGF for all the support he has been giving since the beginning of the Games. They have given us full support. We promise to give a good Games.
"We have taken over the venues and all are venue teams have gone to the venues. We have got venue commanders in place I will be going to see the venues after two days," he said. Kalmadi said the catering contract has been finalised and the details would be out within a few days. "The catering contract has been finalised and the final look has also been finalised," he said. PTI