Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit visits the venue to oversee maintenance

A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the Delhi Government to oversee the cleanliness and maintenance work at the Commonwealth Games Village, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday paid two visits to the venue.

Ms. Dikshit first went to the Games Village in the forenoon and directed all the agencies to finish the cleaning and maintenance work within a day. She was again at the venue in the evening to supervise the work being done there.

The transfer of the Games Village to the Delhi Government has taken place in the wake of complaints from various Commonwealth Games Associations about poor hygienic conditions at the venue. Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation Mike Hooper had gone to the extent of terming the condition “filthy and unimaginable'' and its president Mike Fennel had lodged a written complaint with the Cabinet Secretary.

The cries for a quick remedy got shriller when a leading global broadcasting corporation put up on its website pictures of the Games Village that showed the toilets dirty with ‘pan' stains and filth and the bedspreads in its rooms bearing pugmarks, possibly of stray dogs.

Alleging that the infrastructure was broken, pipes were leaking, there was water-logging and seepage at many places, and the toilets and even beds were dirty in many of the apartments, several countries had delayed the departure of their teams to New Delhi.

To restore some semblance of order at the Games Village, the Delhi Government has involved a large number of senior officers for supervising the cleaning and maintenance work. Besides, 225 additional sanitation workers have been provided by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

Sources said 11 officers of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Civil Service (DANICS) cadre have been deployed at the Village and given the responsibility of ensuring coordination in the work relating to one tower each.

The Games Village had been constructed by a private developer Emaar MGF which had won the bid for it after an auction held by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) that comes under the Union Urban Development Ministry.

Meanwhile, DDA sought to wash its hands clean of the muck by issuing a statement that it was not managing the Commonwealth Games Village during the event. After the flats were constructed, they were handed over to India Tourism Development Corporation, it said, adding that then ITDC had passed the furnished flats to the Games Organising Committee for management.

“As Organising Committee was having certain problems in maintenance, the DDA was assisting it. Besides the DDA, officers appointed by Cabinet Secretariat, Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi Lieutenant-Governor's Secretariat had also been assisting the OC in the management of the Village,'' it added.

“Since Wednesday, the Delhi Government has also come forward to help the OC by contributing services of 11 DANICS officers in making the Games a success. Therefore, there is no question of handing or taking over as the management of the village is with the Organising Committee,'' the DDA clarified.