National Games a success: Kerala

National Games a success: Kerala

State in damage-control mode over controversies

National Games a success: Kerala

The Kerala government on Tuesday initiated a damage control exercise over controversies surrounding the ongoing National Games by announcing checks on quality and expenditure.

Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told reporters that an expense audit would be conducted after the conclusion of the sporting event, and that the organisers had been instructed on cutting down expenses on the closing ceremony, which is scheduled here on February 14.

“The chief secretary has been instructed in this connection,” Radhakrishnan said. There has been criticism against the government over the budget of the event’s opening ceremony, estimated at about Rs 15 crore. 

The minister maintained that barring the much-criticised music show by Lalisom—a new band helmed by actor Mohanlal—the event was a success. 

He said that the overall budget for the games was Rs 31 crore less than what had been spent on the 2011 edition of the games in Ranchi.

Earlier, Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson expressed disappointment at the manner in which the opening ceremony was conducted. 

The Sports Authority of India former director-general said lack of rehearsals had hit the event and the performances did not have the precision expected from shows on a coveted stage. 

Voices have emerged from both within the Congress-led ruling coalition and the CPM-led opposition seeking a probe into charges of sloppy organisation and mismanagement. 

‘Undermining efforts’

Radhakrishnan, however, said a campaign was on to undermine the efforts taken in organising the event.

“Ahead of the games, critics had said the venues or the infrastructure won’t be ready. Some of them even wrote to the Indian Olympic Association stating there were organisational issues,” said Radhakrishnan.

“However, the games are on. The campaign against Lalisom’s performance could also be part of this agenda,” he added. 

Following a social media outrage against Lalisom’s performance, Mohanlal had on Monday announced that he would return to the government about Rs 1.64 crore accepted for the band’s performance. 

“He (Lal) has done an honourable thing. He should be spared from more hate campaigns,” Radhakrishnan said.

The government is expected to take a call on Mohanlal’s decision on Wednesday after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy returns from an election campaign in Delhi.