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PM firm on CWG success, Pulls up Gill and Reddy for mess; 1500 people to clean up towers
NEW DELHI, SEPT 24 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 25 Sep. 2010 12:05 AM IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pulled up union sports minister MS Gill and union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy on Friday during a Cabinet meeting in New Delhi for the delay in the preparation for Commonwealth Games. During the meeting Singh sent a strong message to Gill that it was not the time to talk but to act and then castigated Reddy for the sloppy work at the Games venues.
“Forum of the Cabinet is not required to discuss Commonwealth Games. The matter was discussed yesterday,” Singh told Gill when he expressed his desire to give a presentation on Commonwealth Games at the Cabinet meeting.
Singh also stopped Gill from making the presentation at the Cabinet meeting and asked him to behave like a sports minister. He then criticized Reddy for sloppy work at the stadia, Games Village, cleanliness and the fall of foot overbridge near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Sources said that he was also upset about the lack of coordination between ministries and agencies working on CWG related work. He told the ministers that the time to blame each other was over. He reportedly told them that it was now one country, one games, one government and that time was now running out, sources said.
Singh has demanded accountability from those responsible for the CWG mess. PM also held a meeting with union ministers and others involved with the sporting event and asked them to supervise the work personally. He said that passing the buck was not right and India’s image was being tarnished by the Commonwealth Games mess.
Meanwhile at the Games Village, it is Operation Cleanup like never before as 1,500 people were called in to tidy up the towers. It is now a race against time to meet the cleanup deadline.
Mood up, Fennel happy, athletes check in
Things finally began to look up for the crisis-hit Commonwealth Games with Australia and New Zealand confirming participation and the first batch of English athletes landing in Delhi amid an emergency inspection of the much-criticised Games Village by CGF boss Mike Fennell.
After days of indecision, Australia and New Zealand confirmed their presence in the October 3 to 14 event and also gave a thumbs up to the athletes’ Village, which they had dubbed “filthy and uninhabitable” just a couple of days ago.
But there was no stopping the individual pullouts that have dogged the Games with Welsh world and Olympic champion cyclist Geraint Thomas, Isle of Man rider Peter Kennaugh and the England pair of Ben Swift and Ian Stannard, along with Kiwi rider Greg Henderson announcing their withdrawal citing health and security fears.
Kalmadi reappears
Even as individual pullouts and contingents delaying their arrival are plaguing the Commonwealth Games, the Organising Committee chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, said he had a fruitful meeting with the chefs de mission of all participating countries. Speaking to members of the press, the man who was conspicuous by his absence on Wednesday said he had personally ensured that the recent concerns of participating teams were addressed.
“I had some CWG work which kept me busy all day. Today, I had a meeting with all the chefs de mission and they were happy with the arrangements which have been put in place,” he said, also adding that he had not received any letter from any of the member countries. With just nine days to go for the Games, Kalmadi said he was extremely disappointed with individual pullouts.
“Pullouts due to security concerns are frivolous. We have the best arrangement in place to ensure safety of athletes and officials. If these have not convinced certain athletes enough, not much can be said on the matter.”

 
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