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CGF Slams Games Village, Terms It "Filthy And Uninhabitable"

New Delhi, Sep 21 :  In yet another embarrassment to the organisers less than two weeks before the Commonwealth Games, the CGF on Tuesday termed the Athletes Village "filthy and uninhabitable" and gave OC two
PTI September 21, 2010 16:24 IST
New Delhi, Sep 21 :  In yet another embarrassment to the organisers less than two weeks before the Commonwealth Games, the CGF on Tuesday termed the Athletes Village "filthy and uninhabitable" and gave OC two days time to sort out the mess.

The OC, however, shrugged of the criticism with its vice-Chairman Randhir Singh saying the facilities would be "excellent" for the guests.

Adding to the woes of the organisers, who had faced corruption allegations in the controversy-marred build-up to the Games, the CGF chief Michael Fennell today made a scathing criticism that the Athletes' Village was "seriously compromised".

Fennell shot off a letter to Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, asking him to take immediate steps to fix the deficiencies in residential zone of the Village, which he said has "shocked" advance parties from New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Ireland because of its unhygienic condition.

"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 as such last night 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. With just 12 days to go for the sporting extravaganza, the CGF chief has expressed doubts over the state of what he called a "seriously compromised" Games Village.

"The Village is the cornerstone of any Games and the athletes deserve the best possible environment to prepare for their competition. "Many nations that have already sent their advanced parties to set up within the Village have made it abundantly clear that, as of the afternoon of September 20, the Commonwealth Games Village is seriously compromised," Fennell said.

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.

"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)," Hopper told reporters at a press conference here.

"Ever since Sep 15, we along with CGAs met on daily basis. We also held meetings with OC 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 as stated by Mr Fennel.

"Hopefully, with Mr Fennell's intervention, asking for direct intervention from the Indian government, the problem will be fixed. Hopefully, we will see some significant action and progress in the next two days," Hooper said.

"(OC chairman) Mr (Suresh) Kalmadi told me that the Cabinet Secretary was at the Village this morning. It shows that clearly he has taken the matter extremely seriously," he added.

The CGF CEO said the incident did not come as a positive advertisement for the Games, the build-up to which has been marred by corruption allegations and construction delays.

"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."  OC vice-Chairman Randhir Singh, however, said that there was no reason to press the panic button and the athletes will have no complaints during their stay in the Village.

"I can assure everyone that there is no cause for worry. Delegates have praised the Village as one of the best. "We are working round the clock to take care of any problem. When the athletes arrive here they will find an excellent facility," Randhir said.

On the security front, Fennell reiterated that security continues to remain of "utmost importance" to CGF especially in the wake of Sunday's firing incident on foreign nationals in the Capital. "Security remains of the utmost importance to the CGF and our advisors continue to monitor the situation. Currently, this matter remains on track," Fennell said.

"CGF CEO, Mike Hooper, and his staff are already in Delhi and are keeping me constantly informed of the situation and developments," he added. PTI