| Construction at the Games village site in Hotwar
Jamshedpur, Dec. 20: Claims of Jharkhand sports officials notwithstanding, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) seems far from happy about the progress made for the 2007 National Games.
Though the presentation on the preparedness for the National Games 2007, held at Olympic Bhavan in Delhi today, went off smoothly, senior functionaries of IOA, the apex sports body of the country, were critical about its quality.
Moreover, they also appeared upset over the absence of Jharkhand sports minister Bandhu Tirkey and sports secretary N.N. Sinha. A senior IOA official said from Delhi that the absence of Tirkey and Sinha did not go down well.
“It’s amazing that such an important presentation was represented by the sports director of the Jharkhand government. Assam, which also made its presentation, was represented by chief minister Tarun Gogoi, three cabinet colleagues and senior officials. The presence of top administration officials gives a positive impression. Sadly, this was not the case with Jharkhand. We were also not very satisfied with the presentation,” he said.
R.K. Anand, president of the Jharkhand Olympic Association (JOA), said he would give full marks to Assam as far as the presentation was concerned. “They seemed better prepared than us,” he said.
Tirkey could not be contacted but ministry officials said he could not go because of the Assembly session.
Jharkhand sports officials, however, claimed they won kudos after the presentation, which was made before senior IOA officials, including president Suresh Kalmadi and secretary-general Randhir Singh. Besides Anand, Jharkhand sports director Rahul Sharma, Anand, JOA secretary S.M. Hashmi and treasurer M.K. Pathak were present.
“The presentation was appreciated by the IOA. We also distributed brochures containing details of the progress made for the Games next year,” said Pathak.
“The question and answer session was also satisfactory. Preparations are on the right track,” he added.
JOA administrative secretary Jai Kumar Sinha said the presentation gave a detailed account about the work in progress at the Games village, multi-purpose sports complex, Birsa Munda Stadium and hockey stadium.
Sports secretary Sinha said he was not qualified technically to say whether the infrastructure would be in place by next year. “The agencies involved with the job have assured us that the facilities would be handed over by September 2007. We are optimistic,” he said.
But others are sceptical. “Red-tape and bureaucratic interference would not allow timely completion of the required infrastructure,” a senior sports official said.