In Congress-ruled Kerala, the newly appointed chief secretary was forced to register apology in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday after he raised concern over the alleged mismanagement and squandering of public money in the ongoing National Games.
Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson had been the special director-general of the Common Wealth Games held in Delhi and he had been serving as the director of Sports Authority of India before joining back in his home state as the top bureaucrat early this month. Familiar with the issues in the conduct of sports events, Thomson convened a meeting of games officials on Tuesday. The games had already ran into several controversies along with the conduct of the events in seven districts.
Thomson told the officials that the national games was not a cultural festival like Onam. He did not accept the excuse of the officials that they did not get enough to ensure the smooth conduct of the games. He also pulled up the officials for allowing the conduct of various cultural programmes during the opening ceremony without rehearsal. Actor Mohanlal’s band Lalisom had its debut show in the national games.
The chief secretary said it was unnecessary to spend Rs 15 crore for the inauguration of the games.
Irked over the chief secretary’s adverse observations against the conduct of the games, sports minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan immediately came against the allegations. He said the allegations against the games were part of an agenda to destroy him politically. Referring to the fiasco of actor Mohanlal’s band show, Radhakrishnan said complaints were only against the band show Lalisom.
Radhakrishnan said Thomson should behave more prudently. “National games could not be played like Common Wealth Games. He should not try to become smart by criticizing others,” said the minister.
On Wednesday’s cabinet meeting Radhakrishan strongly criticized the chief secretary’s open remarks about the conduct of the games. The cabinet did not endorse the view of the chief secretary on the national games.
Later in the day, Radhakrishnan told the media that the chief secretary had already apologized for his observations against the conduct of the games. “I have nothing else to say on the allegations as the chief secretary had already apologized for it.”
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media that the state government has complete satisfaction in the conduct of the ongoing national games. Chandy justified the spending of Rs 15 crore for the opening ceremony. “The amount of Rs 15 crore was fixed in 2011 by the previous government.”
Referring to the chief secretary’s suggestion to cut short the closing ceremony and its expenditure, Chandy said the function would be held as per the plan. “Expenses would not be trimmed down,” he said.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) state secretariat decided that all party members and legislators should quit from various committees of the national games as the party does not want to get embroiled in the games corruption. Since the chief secretary himself has pointed out corruption, the party wanted its leaders to keep away from the games organizing committees. The party wanted action against all those who made the games an occasion to loot money, the secretariat said in a release.