Feels like an Indian village
Newly-built Commonwealth Games Village attracts criticism on various fronts; organisers remain unfazed, reports Siddhanth Aney.other Updated: Sep 22, 2010 00:18 IST
The minutes of the meeting held between the Organising Committee and the six foreign mission chiefs, and pictures of the Games Village, have revealed that the venue is far from being complete.
Sources indicated that the issues cited include dirtiness of living areas and toilets, presence of stray dogs, mosquitoes and a high chance of disease.
While security and other facilities, including the dining hall, gymnasium and other recreational and sports facilities were deemed more than acceptable, the same was not the case with the athletes living areas.
New Zealand chef de mission, Dave Currie, was the first to express dissatisfaction. “The way things are right now, it's not up to scratch,” Currie told Newstalk ZB. He also implied that the Games were under threat because “if the Village is not complete, the athletes can't come. It is unacceptable for the OC to put athletes through this”.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key though said that the state of the village did not necessarily mean that the Games are off, and nor would it be likely that his nation would pull out.
Scotland also issued a strongly worded statement saying, “Allocated accommodation blocks were far from finished and in our view, unsafe and unfit for human habitation.” Both Scotland and New Zealand have since been offered, and have accepted, alternate blocks of residence, but that does not address the core issue.
Australia on the other hand did not seem too concerned about the overall state of the village, although chef de mission Steve Moneghetti did say that the organisers “have got two days to do what's probably going to take about two weeks.”
OC secretary-general Lalit Bhanot and Games Village mayor, Major Dalbir Singh both said that they appreciated the concerns expressed by these delegations, but refuted claims that work would not be finished on time, or that the Village would be unlivable.
“The Village is a world class setup. The facilities are unmatched by any of the games villages I have visited over the years. Yes, there is a lot of cleaning work to be done, but that will be finished before the Village is opened,” Bhanot said.
Bhanot also said that standards of hygiene are highly subjective, and that the OC had instructed those responsible to “upgrade their standards to match what the international teams are looking for.”
Singh, meanwhile, chose to use the oft-repeated analogy of the process of building a new house. “Until you start living in the house, there are bound to be small issues. We have taken note of all the concerns and are working hard to sort them out.”
With the OC, the DDA, NDMC, CPWD and now the Delhi and Central governments involved in the process, it might just end up being a case of too many cooks.