Suresh Kalmadi on Monday said he and the rest of his staff were "demoralised", "hurt" and "pained" by the negative publicity surrounding the Commonwealth Games.
"We don't deserve it," said the Organising Committee (OC) chairman, who dropped in at the Hindustan Times office to chat about the problems plaguing the Committee, the state of the venues and how the Games will be conducted.
"The infrastructure and building of venues really has not been our responsibility, the overseeing of the Games itself is. Every decision has been taken by the Executive Board, which also includes the secretaries of the sports and urban development ministries, an additional secretary from the finance ministry, the chief secretary Delhi government and members from the Olympic Committee. But popular perception is that the OC should be hanged. So, for no fault of ours, we were. The way things are happening, I'm quite sad about it," said Kalmadi.
He, however, said that despite minor glitches, "each venue is world-class". He said requisite clearances, including fire safety certificates, would be handed over to Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper by Monday and the volunteer programme would be a "rip-roaring success".
"Have faith. We can pull this off," he said.
He also said the Games Village will be ready by September 15, a day before advance parties from foreign contingents arrive to check their quarters. "It's better than the Beijing Village."
Delhi is waiting to find out.