Saturday, August 21, 2010

Army says no free service for CWG

  Army wants to be paid for help
Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan TimesThe trouble of the beleaguered organisers of the 2010 Commonwealth Games does not seem to end. The issue of payment for the services that the Armed Forces would be offering to the Games Organising Committee (OC) has become a major bone of contention between Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal
Reddy and Defence Minister A.K. Antony.  The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) overseeing the Games preparation headed by Reddy had backed the OC's plea to seek a waiver from the defence ministry for its contribution to the event.
The OC had sought the army's assistance for helping out during the opening and closing ceremonies and accommodating 2,500 artistes at its barracks and camps.
When the bureaucracy at the defence ministry did not respond to the GoM's recommendation first made three months ago, Reddy shot off a letter to Anthony this month, urging him to ensure "full participation at no cost".
The Defence Ministry wanted Rs 1.2 crore to give allowances to the 992 officers and jawans who would be deputed for assisting the OC during the games.
The defence establishment also wanted the OC to pay another Rs 11 crore for what it calls the "customisation charges" to make its barracks habitable for the artistes stay.
Reddy said it was "distressing" that the armed forces required the OC to pay monthly allowances of Rs 20,000 for each officer helping out in organizing the Games.
"I am sure you would agree that all government agencies and departments should provide all possible assistance towards conduct of the CWG, which is a national commitment," Reddy said in the letter.
The defence ministry, however, has refused to budge from its stance.
"We are considering a waiver of a rent of Rs 27 lakh for the barracks and camps but the organisers will have to pay the other allowances and charges," a defence ministry official said, wishing to remain anonymous.

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