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CGF, Delhi CM Locked In Verbal Duel Over 'Population' Remark

New Delhi, Sep 27 : The Commonwealth Games Federation and Delhi government were today locked in a verbal duel with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit slamming CGF CEO Mike Hooper's reported comment blaming traffic snarls in
PTI September 27, 2010 22:51 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Sep 27 : The Commonwealth Games Federation and Delhi government were today locked in a verbal duel with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit slamming CGF CEO Mike Hooper's reported comment blaming traffic snarls in the city on India's vast population.

"It is really a very unkind and undiplomatic remark that has been made," Dikshit told reporters here.

However, Hooper received strong backing from CGF boss Mike Fennell, who insisted that the New Zealander neither blamed the Indian government nor made any disparaging comments about India, as was reported in the media.

Hooper had blamed authorities for the lack of preparations for the Games and reportedly attributed traffic snarls in Delhi to India's "population hazard".

Asked about the mess surrounding the Commonwealth Games Village, Dikshit sought to blame the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) who was tasked to construct it.

 "We inherited it (the Village) in a very difficult situation. It is improving almost by the hour. We are working very hard (to make things right)," Dikshit, who has been personally monitoring the 'clean up operation' at the Village, said.

 "I do hope that at the end of it everything will be alright....of course there are some seepages which the builder and the DDA should have looked at earlier," she added.

 Asked whether the entire complex will be ready by the Wednesday deadline set by her yesterday, Dikshit refused to talk about the timeline and said some buildings are still wet and authorities are finding it difficult to drain out the stagnant water from the basements.

 "I won't give you a timeline.... It depends on how dry the buildings become. How quickly the water is removed from the basements and how quickly the lifts are working," she said. Officials said at least ten lifts are not working at the Village complex.

Dikshit said every effort is being made to make things improve at the much-criticised complex.

"Now we are cleaning up the rooms, we are cleaning up the public areas, the verandas, corridors and staircases. We have said that every has to work double," she said.

Amid strong criticism by international delegates who dubbed the Village as "filthy and uninhabitable", the PMO last week had directed Delhi Government to take control of the complex from Delhi Development Authority and clear the mess.

Asked about the overall preparations, Dikshit exuded confidence of holding a "very good Games" and said all agencies are "racing against time" to make the mega sporting event a great success.

 "This will be a very good Games. We are looking at everything. We are racing against time, no doubt about it. But we will perform," she said. PTI