Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fennell Says Considerable Improvement

There’s finally some good news coming from the Commonwealth Games Village. Days after the advance teams from New Zealand and Canada besides other countries complained about the condition of the Village, both delegates and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief, Michael Fennell, admitted that ‘‘considerable’’ improvements have been made. And while Fennell made it clear that the organising committee (OC) of the Delhi Games 2010 had to keep on its toes to ensure that the momentum of work continues, things looks good for the Games, with the first batch of 47 athletes, including 17 from England, landing in Delhi on Friday.

Said a senior OC official, ‘‘With a large work force being deployed in the Village, a large part of the cleaning operation has been accomplished. Now, the debris lying around in the open, especially the pools of stagnant water, is the main cause of work left to be done.’’ In fact, the stagnant water — both in the external areas as well as in the basement of the towers, is some areas that Fennell has told the OC to be on top priority, said sources.

Visiting the Village early morning, Fennell met the chefs de mission of the countries that have already their advance teams, along with CGF CEO, Mike Hooper. ‘‘The briefing I received from my CEO, Mike Hooper, last night, was that considerable improvements have been made within the Village, with further significant resources deployed by Delhi chief minister, Sheila Dikshit, to make good what was a concerning situation,’’ Fennell said in a statement.

It wasn’t just Fennell who made the rounds of the Village though. Dikshit also rushed to the Village while OC’s brass, including OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Vice-chairman Randhir Singh, also went there. Also present was OC spokesperson Lalit Bhanot, who was overseeing the clean-up operation in the Village, added sources. Added Fennell, ‘‘We must ensure that a suitable environment is provided to ensure the welfare of the athletes and their support staff... It is vital that all remedial work that has already started continues with the greatest urgency.’’

The 17-member team from England, meanwhile, which landed in Delhi, will be staying in a hotel. Admitted Bhanot, ‘‘They have made their own (living) arrangements and will move into the Village in a few days.’’ Asked if the team hadn’t moved in as the Village wasn’t ready, Bhanot claimed it was a ‘‘normal’’ feature. ‘‘The team informed us that they wanted to meet outsiders which would have been difficult in the Village, so preferred to stay in a hotel,’’ added Bhanot.

Meanwhile, around 1,000 sanitation workers from MCD and NDMC have been working to clean-up the Games Village. Said an official: ‘‘Due to water filling up the basement areas, around 15 lifts were not working.’’ MCD is pumping out water from the basement area and claims that the water entered the basement due to Yamuna level rising. Meanwhile, DDA which is responsible for the maintenance of the basement claimed that no water had entered the basement.

Said an NDMC official, ‘‘We are scraping off the muck and grime from within the Games Village. Most of the cleaning work is over. Around 500 sanitation workers from NDMC are carrying out work in the Village while the MCD staff is responsible for removing garbage from the complex.’’

MCD said there was still a lot of malba which needed to be removed. Said an MCD official, ‘‘We have allocated 500 workers for cleaning the exterior of the Village. We have also been given the duty to carry out fogging in the area and ensuring that there are no dogs in the vicinity.”