CWG dues: Maken gives 10 days to sort out disputes, OC justifies delay

first_imgWith the payment dispute between Australian firms and CWG organisers threatening to snowball into a major row, the Sports Ministry on Thursday issued a 10-day ultimatum to the Organising Committee to sort out payment issues.Minister of State for Sports Ajay Maken.But unfazed by the controversy and threat of a multi-million dollar lawsuit, the beleaguered organisers sought to justify the delay, saying final payments are made only after complete reports from Functional Area Heads are received and analysed.New Sports Minister Ajay Maken directed government nominees in the Organising Committee to “thoroughly verify” the unpaid dues and ensure that the payments are made within ten days.”I had a meeting with the sports secretary on this matter. I have directed the government nominees in Organising Committee to thoroughly verify the unpaid dues and make all the legitimate payments within ten days. It is a very important issue”, Maken told a press conference in New Delhi shortly after taking independent charge of the Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry.Four of Australia’s biggest event management firms plan to slap a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Commonwealth Games organisers for the recovery of their dues.Events organiser Ric Birch has commissioned law firm Slater and Gordon to draw up the multi-million dollar lawsuit that would involve at least four of Australia’s biggest event firms – including his firm Spectak Productions and fireworks group Howard & Sons – against the Delhi Games organisers.Maken said the Commonwealth Games ended about three months back and he did not want problems to linger for so long.advertisement”It has been three months that the Games are over and payments have not been done. I don’t want the issue to linger on for ever. I don’t want anyone to come and point fingers at us”, he said.”It is a very important issue and I want it to be resolved as quickly as possible. If there is more delay, more problems could crop up”, he said.Reacting to reports that events organiser Ric Birch has commissioned a law firm draw up a lawsuit against organisers, the OC said, “As much as 90 per cent of the contracted amount to Birch has already been released.””There are issues pending on account of under-performance vis-a-vis contractual obligations, as raised by the Functional Area Head. Hence, the final installment has been held back and the party has been informed accordingly,” OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi said in a statement.The decision to withhold payment was approved by the Executive Board on Dec 14 last year.” Mr Birch was not available at a crucial juncture of the final preparation for the closing ceremony and there were instances of incorrect advise that cost OC time and resources”, Kalmadi said.The Organising Committee said that it was aware of the responsibilities of releasing all payments on time and all efforts in this direction are being made.”It may be noted that it is normal practice for the final payments to be released to vendors only after complete reports from the Functional Area heads are received and analysed,” Kalmadi said.About Howard & Sons, another firm involved with the Games, the OC wrote, “As much as 65 per cent of the contracted amount has already been paid. Since its contract underwent two changes, OC needed clarity on taxes. The taxation advice we obtained from the chartered accountants and, accordingly, the payment is being released this week.Kalmadi said it has made the full payments to Norwest, as per its contract, except the performance bank guarantee amount. “OC has only recently received the original invoices and the payment is being released.”As far as travel grants to the Australian Commonwealth Games Associations were concerned, the OC has “released full payments to as many as 39 of the 71 members”.”Of the remaining 32 CGAs, the OC has already released 70 per cent of their payments. After verification of cost of damages in Games Village, variation in team size, recoveries on account of security deposit/rate care items etc, the remaining amount will be released this week,” the statement said.The payment issue also figured prominently during External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s bilateral meeting with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, giving the visiting Indian leader some embarrassing moments.Rudd raised the issue of non-payment of dues to Australian companies for Commonwealth Games-related work with Krishna, who is in Australia on a three-day visit.-With PTI inputslast_img