When I went to a Games Village room in Melbourne four years ago, I was quite surprised. There were around two-three beds in one small room and there was hardly any place to move. There was a dining area and there were washrooms, which were shared. Contrary to expectations, it did not resemble a five-star hotel. And most of the structures there were temporary.
If officials and athletes are to be believed, in Manchester the athletes were put up in hostels.
In New Delhi, perhaps we have forgotten where we stayed during other Games. Or are we overdoing everything --- from infrastructure to beautification?
So much money has been spent in the Games Village to make it 'world class' with Italian marbles and LCDs in rooms, that somewhere down the line someone forgot to take care of the basic amenities --- hygiene and sanitation. It's true the OC has two more days to get things in order, but it's not an excuse for overlooking such basic necessities. And this could have easily avoided such controversy so close to the Games.
Another question that remains to be answered is who is to be blamed for this mess? Is it the OC or the venue owners? Or did the OC take possession of a Village that is not complete, which is very likely, since it was running behind schedule?
Whatever it is, OC had four days to act. According to insiders, the foreign delegates had complained about the issue just the day the towers were handed over to respective teams, i.e. on September 16, the day of the soft opening. Though the OC wanted to address the issues, it could not because by then various agencies were working in the Village.
If they wanted to send in cleaners, the security was too tight. Or if they wanted to move certain things from this place to that, they had to take permission from hundreds of agencies at work in there.
What transpired within the precincts of the high-rise OC headquarters only they can explain. But one thing is for sure — there is a lack of coordination.
It was only after nothing moved forward did CGF chief Mike Fennell shoot a letter to the Cabinet Secretary. In any case, it's a needless controversy that could’ve been avoided.