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'Games money helped us'

delhi Updated: Nov 24, 2010 00:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Chief minister Sheila Dikshit said that owing to the hosting of the Commonwealth Games, Delhi has been able to save crores of public money by advancing the various urban infrastructure projects.

"The Metro, the airport, the grade separators, power plants, everything has given us a solid infrastructure for the future. By building them today, we have effectively saved money in the future," she said while addressing the House on the opening day of the Winter Session of the Delhi Assembly.

The chief minister claimed that thanks to the new gas-based power plants in Bawana and also the new plants in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, that were commissioned for the Commonwealth Games, Delhi will remain "power-surplus" for the next 10 years.

"We have always been power deficient. But now we have so much power that we can actually sell power to other states," she said.

Speaking on corruption charges into Games-related works, Dikshit said her government was ready to face any probe. "We will not spare the guilty," she said.

In response to the allegations by Opposition about the spending on the Commonwealth Games, Dikshit said that figures being quoted by various quarters including the Opposition MLAs were grossly overplayed and untrue.

"Cost of Games projects was Rs 3753 crore; the cost of infrastructure projects was Rs 11077 crore while central assistance was Rs 2800 crore," she said.

"We have been able to finance the Games by robust collection of taxes, without levying any new taxes."

Taking a dig at Leader of Opposition VK Malhotra, who is also the vice chairman of the Games Organising Committee, Dikshit said that his role looked suspicious as he "not only remained silent but also closed his eyes to allow irregularities to be committed in any way."

Dikshit said she wanted to build sports academies for various disciplines so that the world class-sporting infrastructure of the Games is put to good use.

"I do think Delhi can host not only the Asian Games but also the Olympics," she said.

Opposition shown the door amid heavy protest
Faced with an enraged Opposition demanding a House panel to probe alleged corruption into the Commonwealth Games works, the Delhi government used its numerical advantage in the Assembly and promptly passed a motion to evict all Opposition MLAs from the floor on Tuesday, marking a rocky start to the Winter Session of the Assembly.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called the eviction "murder of democracy".

"This autocratic government does not want an effective Opposition. Every time we corner them over corruption charges, they pass a motion to evict us," said Leader of Opposition Vijay Kumar Malhotra.

"The government has spent Rs 23,000 crore. The spending of every penny should be probed."

The quoted figure of spending was later refuted by chief minister Sheila Dikshit with official numbers in her formal reply at the end of the day.

Ever since the start of the session, MLAs of the BJP kept the decibel levels high with slogans calling for a House panel, akin to a Joint Parliamentary Committee in the Parliament.

Holding placards that proclaimed the government "guilty" in corruption charges, the MLAs kept demanding that the scheduled Question Hour be postponed for the formation of the House Panel.

Speaker Yoganand Shastri had to suspend the proceedings twice to break the stalemate but to no avail. "There are already three Central probes into the Games works. What is the need for a House Panel?" Shastri shot at the Opposition.

The BJP claimed that the sanctity of the central probing agencies was compromised since CBI was "a cover up agency", the Central Vigilance Commissioner "was a charge-sheeted man himself" and the Public Accounts Committee "never had a precedence of going against anyone in power".

Soon after, transport and education minister Arvinder Singh Lovely tabled a motion for the eviction of the BJP members. The motion was promptly passed. The rest of the proceedings, including Question Hour continued without a single Opposition MLA present.