PM steps in, orders swift clean-up

Race against time as officials rush to rectify problems in Village

Shocked by complaints of “substandard” and “filthy” conditions in the Commonwealth Games Village by the participating countries, one of which even threatened to pull out, Singh ordered cabinet secretary K M Chandrashekar to immediately visit the Village. The PM also summoned Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna and directed him to personally oversee the clean-up and refurbishment of the apartments to house athletes and officials.

The Lt Governor will be submitting a day-to-day status report to the prime minister.
Chandrasekhar visited the athletes’ housing site Tuesday morning and instructed senior officials in the urban development ministry and the Organising Committee (OC) to clean up the Village fast and put the fixtures in order.

Singh summoned Khanna after the cabinet secretary submitted a report in the afternoon. Official sources said the PM took serious note of complaints that “stray dogs were jumping on the beds, that the towers were full of rubbish and that the toilets were filthy”. The Village has 1,168 apartments spread across 34 towers that will house the more than 7,000 athletes and officials.

The PM’s renewed initiatives came just before a foot overbidge leading to the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the main venue of the Games, causing severe embarrassment to the government.

The opening and closing ceremonies ceremony of the Oct 3-14 Games, the biggest sporting event being hosted by India since the 1982 Asian Games, will be held at the stadium that will also host athletics events.

On his part, Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy said these were “minor hiccups” and he was “confident and cool” that “we will have a very successful Games”.

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