Twelve days before the Commonwealth Games begin in New Delhi, the 'Village' built for athletes and officials has been called "dirty, filthy and unlivable".
"Predominantly the issue is of cleanliness of the towers in the residential zone. The matter came to our attention when
we paid a preliminary visit to the Games Village on September 15 along with some representatives of the advanced parties of
Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA)," said Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), at a press conference in Delhi.
"Ever since September 15, we along with CGAs met on daily basis. We also held meetings with OC (Organising Committee) officials and emphasised the importance of addressing the issue of cleanliness of the Village, which I have to say in many towers are filthy and uninhabitable," he said.
Hooper's comments came after an advanced party from New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Ireland raised serious concerns
regarding the hygiene in the residential zone of the Games Village.
"It would be fair to say that we are extremely disappointed to find ourselves in the situation we are in
right now with only two days before the athletes start arriving," Hooper said.
"We were given promises that these would be remedied by September 19. It is fair to say that there was some progress
but it is certainly insufficient to satisfy the majority of CGAs who are currently here."
Hooper also said the CGF stands by its statement that the international zone of the Village, which was soft launched
last week, is of world class standard. "I stand by my statement that the international zone is fantastic. It has got a lot of accolades from different CGA members.
"But what we said in relation to the Village was that it has the potential to be the best Village we ever had," he
Fennell flies in
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Michael Fennell, who arrives in Delhi on Thursday, said that parts of the Village are still not fit for the accommodation of athletes and asked the Organising Committee to take "quick action" in the next 24 hours to set it right before the athletes start arriving Thursday.
Fennell, who had raised concerns about the Village during his visit last month, has written a letter to Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekar, the government's pointsperson for the Games preparations, expressing his concerns over the Village.
"I am expecting some serious action in the next 24 hours. We have been waiting for the Village to be ready before the athletes arrive but we have not seen any action so far," Fennell said.
"I raised the matter with authorities. The Village residential zone needs a lot of attention. It needs to be fixed urgently. The athletes come first," he added.
In his letter to Chandrashekar, Fennell wrote: "The Village is the cornerstone of any Games and the athletes deserve the best possible environment to prepare for their competition."
"The Village is the cornerstone of any Games and the athletes deserve the best possible environment to prepare for their competition," he added.
"The condition of the residential zone has shocked the majority."
Organising Committee vice chairman Randhir Singh admitted that there are certain issues to be addressed.
"There were some towers in the Village that was dirtied by labourers working there. Twenty-four hours is a long time and we will see to it that everything is in place before the athletes arrive. Everyone has appreciated the Village."
(With inputs from IANS)