Accountability issue put Games organising committee, sports min on collision course

Written by Rakesh Sood | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 30 2008, 05:52am hrs
The ministry of youth affairs and sports and Commonwealth Games-2010 Organising Committee (OC) are at loggerheads even as the countdown for the mega event has began.

The issue is strengthening of existing mechanism of internal control and accountability for use of huge amounts of public funds to be spent on upgrading existing infrastructure, creating new ones and management of sports activities during the event spanning from October 3 to 14.

While the ministry wants to bring the huge expenditure incurred by (OC) over 15-day event under the ambit of Right to Information Act (RTI), the latter opposing the move saying, the funds being spent on the organising the games have been taken as loan from the government, hence proper accounts have been maintained.

A senior official on the condition of anonymity told FE, As it is public funds, the people have the right to know where and how these funds are being used As the matter is sub-judice the organisers have not been responding to any queries raised under RTI. Neither there has been a separate cell for the purpose. Keeping this view the ministry has directed OC to fall in line.

The OC is also learnt to have told ministry that provisions are neither a grant or the OC is not formed under an Act of Parliament so it can not be brought under the purview of the RTI.

Consequently, the OC has challenged the ministerial order in the court on the plea that the forthcoming event is a short-term activity, if brought under RTI ambit, the work will unnecessarily stuck in responding the queries which will be a setback to the preparation of the games.

Contrary to this, the ministry officials argue that huge expenditure incurred over a relatively short time span has inherent dangers of possible leakages and wastages. It is in obvious public interest that existing mechanisms of management should be transparent.

As per the present calculations, besides, creation of new infrastructure, about Rs 9000 crore will be spent on upgradation, and organisation of events. An extra amount of Rs 1628 crore will be allocated to the OC for the event.