Barely 12 days to go for the Commonwealth Games, the organisers came under scathing attack from their international bosses who called the Athletes' Village "filthy and unlivable" and bluntly told them to sort out the mess within 24 hours.
To add to a heap of embarrassments, one of the teams threatened to pull out of the Games while a foot overbridge being built opposite the showpiece Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsed on Tuesday, raising fresh questions over Delhi's preparedness for the mega event.
But the embarrassed organisers, while promising to sort out all the glitches within the deadline, came out with a bizarre defence that the issue of cleanliness was a matter of difference in perception.
Concerned over the unhygienic conditions at the Games Village, Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell shot off a letter to Cabinet Secretary asking him to take immediate steps to fix the deficiencies in the residential zone of the Village, which he said has "shocked" advance parties from New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Ireland.
"The final preparations for the Games Village have been of concern to the CGF since viewing the residential zone along with a number of Commonwealth Games Associations advance parties on September 15," Fennel said in a strongly-worded statement.
"Many issues remain unresolved and I wrote to the Indian Cabinet Secretary, expressing my great concern with the preparedness of Athletes Village. The condition of residential zone has shocked the majority of CGAs that are in Delhi. However, with the Village to be officially opened on September 23, timely acceptable solutions to prepare for the arrival of athletes are of paramount importance," he said.
"The CGF has asked the Cabinet Secretary to immediately deploy the necessary resources to fix all the outstanding issues to an acceptable level," Fennell added.
An angry New Zealand Chef de Mission Dave Currie also threatened to pull out of the Games if the residential blocks where the Kiwi athletes will stay is not clean up.
CGF Chief Executive Mike Hooper echoed similar sentiments and termed the Athletes Village as "filthy and uninhabitable". He, however, hoped that with Fennell's intervention, the mess would be sorted out in the next two days.
However, the OC put up a brave face with their spokesman Lalit Bhanot saying that the level of cleanliness at the Games Village was upgraded to what the foreign contingents want and the residential blocks will be cleaned up in next two days.
"We have received the letter from Mr Fennell and he has expressed his concerns on the cleanliness of the Games Village. But it is not such a big issue which we should be ashamed of. This will not affect the Games," Bhanot told reporters after the Executive Board meeting.