Monday, September 27, 2010

Sheila says Hooper’s remarks unkind, but Fennell thinks she is just overreacting

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit seems to have decided to take on Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) CEO Mike Hooper. A day after he demanded that the Games lane restrictions be implemented for 24 hours, blaming traffic snarls in the city on India’s vast population, the CM hit back saying the remarks were “very unkind and undiplomatic”.

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 the country’s vast population being responsible for traffic snarls, as reported in the media. “Far from any emotive commentary, Hooper merely stated the fact that the responsibility for delivering and operating the Games lies with authorities in India, as per the Host City contract,” Fennell said. “What I have witnessed today is a vicious and totally unwarranted attack on Mike Hooper based on entirely false reports,” he added.

Dikshit also blamed the DDA, which comes under Union Urban Development Ministry, for the mess that the Games Village is currently in. She also said that the builder (Emaar-MGF) should have looked at the flats before handing them over. “We inherited it (the Village) in a very difficult situation. It is improving almost by the hour. We are working very hard,” she said.

“I do hope that at the end of it everything will be alright...of course there is some seepage which the builder and the DDA should have looked into earlier,” Dikshit said, adding that every effort is to improve things at the much-criticised Games Village complex. “Now, we are cleaning up the rooms, we are cleaning up the public areas, the corridors and staircases,” the Chief Minister said.

Asked whether the entire complex will be ready by Wednesday, her new deadline, Dikshit just 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 soon the lifts start working,” she said.

Meanwhile, beleaguered OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi joined the attack on the developers of the Games Village, and said: “Cleaning is not my job, it should have come clean to us when it was handed over."

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