Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday took exception to Commonwealth Games CEO Mike Hooper's reported remarks about the capital's population coming in the way of its preparations for the international sporting event.
Asked to comment about Mr. Hooper's remarks, which some news agencies claimed were made by him at a meeting after the authorities objected to his demand for closing the Games lanes round the clock, Ms. Dikshit — who for the past few days has been virtually camping at the Games Village supervising the clean-up and last-minute preparations — said it was “a really very unkind and undiplomatic remark to make.''
It had earlier been reported that Mr. Hooper had not taken lightly to the authorities citing “population hazard'' in Delhi as one of the reasons for not closing the Games lanes 24 hours. The authorities had only agreed to closing them to general traffic for 12 hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Mr. Hooper had also come in for criticism for accusing the Centre and the Delhi government of not fulfilling the Host City contract.
As Mr. Hooper drew flak, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation Michael Fennell accused the Indian media of launching a “totally unwarranted attack.'' Mr. Fennell claimed that Mr. Hooper had been unfairly criticised for alleged comments made to a New Zealand television channel despite his not having criticised the Government of India.
“Far from any emotive commentary, Mr. Hooper had merely stated the fact that the responsibility for delivering and operating the Games lies with authorities in India as per the Host City contract,'' Mr. Fennell clarified.