State asks for a meeting with IOA highlighting elections and school examinations as key reasons
PANJIM: The worst-kept secret has finally been spilled out as Sports Secretary J Ashok Kumar has written to the Indian Olympic Association raising concerns over the ‘peculiar situation’ due to the by-elections and Lok Sabha elections in the State in February/March which could affect the organizing of the Games.
In the letter to the IOA president Narindra Dhruv Batra, Kumar stated, “It may be noted that the State of Goa is going for Assembly by-elections for two constituencies in the month of February/March for which the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is likely to be imposed soon. This would in turn be followed by the Lok Sabha General Elections in April-May for which the MCC is likely to be imposed in March. Thus the State would be facing a peculiar situation where by the entire State administration would be functioning under the restrictions imposed by MCC from February till May.”
“Needless to say that the entire state machinery will be involved in the conduct of elections. Since the proposed dates for National Games coincide with this election period, this will definitely have an impact on the conduct of the Games like security deployment, mobilising officials to name a few. Further you may be aware that while the MCC is in force, apart from the ban on organising any public functions, no new works can be taken up and procurements of goods/services are also prohibited,” it adds.
There were serious doubts on the conduct of the games due the by-elections and Lok Sabha elections from the time the dates for the Games were announced in October. However, SAG Executive Director had said that they were preparing for the Games to be held in March-April.
Surprisingly, Kumar made a peculiar claim in his letter, raising the school examinations issue despite knowing all along that Board/college exams would clash with the Games. “Also, examination of schools/colleges are held during this duration and will hinder the smooth functioning of the games due to shortage of volunteers, who are mostly students,” Kumar stated in the letter.
“In view of the above, I would request you and/or the secretary general to visit the State to discuss these matters, so that, an appropriate and amicable solution could be arrived at,” he stated. The State has, however, reiterated its commitment to host the 36th National Games.
When Herald contacted SAG executive director VM Prabhudessai asking about the same, he stated that they have to abide by the government decision. “We have been preparing for the Games in April. But ultimately we have to abide by the government decision,”
With less than three months to go for the Games, no infrastructure is ready while many stadiums are yet to see 50 per cent completion. Besides hotel rooms, which are booked well in advance as Goa is a tourist destination, have not yet been booked for the participants.