Yes, we can do it. It is the firm belief of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi that we will conduct the Games so well that all of India comes together as one and echoes this sentiment with pride. We are committed to realising the Indian dream of delivering the best Games.
My faith in the people of Delhi and India is immense. I believe they will understand that the budget of the OC is just Rs 1620 crore, including salaries, taxes and rent. The responsibility of my team is to run the Games with this budget. People are well aware that the sports and city infrastructure development have been handled by the Central and State governments.
Sadly, those who mould public opinion seem to make little effort to present facts as they are. Let me cite the example of the case of a toilet roll being ‘bought’ for Rs 3751 each when the truth is that this is the price for a carton of 100 rolls. Such exaggerations were the order of the day and media would not even carry the correct version.
Instead, every development is given a slant to make it seem like the task is beyond India’s collective will. The decision of the Government to depute 10 officers to different venues to ensure greater co-ordination among the different agencies there is another example. The media interpreted it as a takeover of the OC itself.
The media, by and large, ignored the fact that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had said during his meeting on Aug 14 that additional senior and experienced officers would be deputed as required. The media overlooked the fact that the OC had been asking for a number of officers from the Government and the Defence to be seconded to work with us.
The other example that I would like to offer you concerns a long list of champions who have been selected by their respective nations to compete, which will see the biggest participation by athletes. See how little play this has got and compare it with how the withdrawal of athletes due to injury has been showcased as their reluctance to compete here. It doesn’t seem to matter that teams like Australia, England and Canada are sending their largest contingents ever to a Games held outside their own nations.
I am convinced that we will see world-class performances and new champions will be born here. I am delighted that as many as 160 nations will watch the broadcasts. These include the United States for the first time. Despite the attempts to distract us, my team and I have been able to focus on our primary task of producing a grand international sporting event. I am proud of the 3000 strong workforce that is burning midnight oil to ensure that we deliver a great Games.
I know it has been tough for the workforce to keep its morale high against the backdrop of the smear campaign in the media. I believe each one of the staff is committed to rising above all that and making India proud.
I am also happy with the strong support given by the Indian Olympic Association. I have already stated that I am open to any investigation. We shall support the investigation by the government agencies and answer any query they have.
Talking of pride, I am a former Indian Air Force pilot. I would not do anything to dent that pride. Let me assure you: the OC will leave no stone unturned to ensure the smooth conduct of the Games. Delhi has been a wonderful sport all along and there is no reason for it to change now.