“The delegates from the 71 Commonwealth nations are impressed with our Games preparation,” was what Lalit Bhanot, secretary general of the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee (OC) had told media on October 8, after the field visit of the delegates to the games village and the competition venues.
Three days later, the claim came crashing down.
On Monday, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief Michael Fennell told his Indian counterpart in the OC, Suresh Kalmadi, that the games preparations could not “suffer any more slippages”.
“There is lot of work that needs to be done. We believe that the timelines given by the OC to complete the different venues is legitimate but we need to monitor them very closely to ensure that they are met,” said Fennell.
Less than a year to go for the 2010 Commonwealth Games that Delhi is hosting, Fennell had this advice for the OC: “It is not time to debate what needs to be done, but time to do what is recommended and get done with it.”
He made the remark while giving his report card on Delhi's state of readiness for hosting the games next year.
“Delhi faces an enormous challenge in being ready to host the games in October next year. With one year to go, we are definitely concerned,” he said.
Main areas of concern
* None of the venues have been made operational
Work on many of the games venues including the Karni Singh shooting range and the Yamuna Velodrome are already running behind schedule.
Only when the venues are ready can details of other critical issues, such as games overlays and holding test events be worked out.
“Overall we are more concerned about operational issues than construction issues," said Fennell.
* Procurement process needs to be overhauled
There are huge concerns over procurement—be it logistics or advanced sports equipment—for operationalising the games. "I have sought assurances from Mr Kalmadi about overhauling the procurement process, and he has committed to this urgent action. The OC has an obligation and we at the CGF have a commitment to produce Games that the people of this proud nation deserve,” said Fennell.
Solutions fennell offered
* International experts
“There is tremendous international expertise available and the OC will benefit by using their services,” he said.
In the past two weeks experts have been appointed in all key functional areas like village operations, transport, ticketing, venue operations and logistics among others to help OC authorities with their advice.
The expense for hiring the experts would be met by the CGF, Fennell said.
* Monitoring Panel
It's mandate will be to establish timelines for all areas and assist the OC to create policies and plans to deliver the Games. The panel will have a chairman and other experts who will assist the OC to create policies and plans to deliver the games.
* Constant review meet
The CW Coordination Committee will meet more often to address all key issues across all operational areas. Their next meeting is scheduled for December.