Five days of bright sunshine and pleasant weather seems to have lifted the gloom that enveloped preparations at the Commonwealth Games Village on the floodplains of the Yamuna river here.
Games Village mayor Dalbir Singh on Wednesday announced that 2,400 athletes and delegates from 52 countries arrived in the village. “Over 2,300 athletes are expected to check in by Friday morning,” he added.
With a 700-strong cleaning crew working round-the-clock supervised by senior government officials, the Games Village appears almost ready.
Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister M.S. Gill and Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna were among those who visited the village on Wednesday. Mr. Gill spent over two hours interacting with the delegations from different countries. “All teams have given a clear feeling of comfort and are glad to be here,” Mr. Gill added.
A bevy of senior officials from the Delhi Development Authority, the New Delhi Municipal Committee and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi accompanied Mr. Khanna during his visit. “The cleaning is an ongoing process. The cleaning crew has been optimally deployed. The results are there for everyone to see. Talk to any athlete, they are all happy with the village,” Mr. Khanna said.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told a news agency that the village was “absolutely ready.” “Cleanliness and other aspects are up to the mark. For the first time, I am feeling very satisfied.”
East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit, under whose constituency the Games Village falls, showed photographs portraying a turn-around in the upkeep of the apartments. The pictures indicated that the problems of pan-stained washbasins and floors and dirty commodes have now been taken care of. The water-logged basement that invited much criticism has been de-watered. “Two apartments that were earlier rejected by the Canadian and the Indian delegations have been taken back by the same teams now,” Mr. Dikshit said.
The Queen's Baton Relay is arriving in the Capital from Haryana on Thursday after completing a 20,000-km journey through 28 Indian States and seven Union Territories. The baton will be received at the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee headquarters in New Delhi in the afternoon by the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister.
The baton will be taken to several landmarks in Delhi before culminating its journey at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 3.