Kiwis complain: village unliveable


The New Zealand Olympic Committee has described its team’s accommodation in the Commonwealth Games athletes village in New Delhi as substandard and has accepted an offer to shift.

The Times of India reported New Zealand to be among a group of countries having labelled the village as ‘unliveable’.

With only 12 days until the Commonwealth Games open, the paper reported sources saying the apartments, which are left unlocked through the day and night, were found to be dirty. In some flats, labourers had defaecated and toilets are said to be in a “mess”.

Progress to improve conditions in the residential area of the village has been slower than hoped, leaving an New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) delegation in the Indian capital disappointed.

Games organisers offered an alternative apartment building in the village, which chef de mission Dave Currie accepted, as conditions were superior.

However, Currie said there was still considerable work to be done before the official village opening on Thursday.

“While cleanliness had been a concern for us, further inspection has revealed some issues with plumbing, wiring, internet access and mobile phone coverage. We will now be advising sports that the accommodation is less than expected,” Currie said in a statement.

“While our new tower may be close to being ready, there are large sections of the village that are not yet ready for athlete arrival.”

NZOC president Mike Stanley and secretary general Barry Maister were to fly to New Delhi today to be briefed first-hand.

The delays in finishing the village and venues are having a flow-on effect, with the village security sweep having been delayed. Security officials from New Zealand and some other Commonwealth countries are monitoring progress closely.

“The village is now undergoing a phased lockdown,” Currie said.

“Our security advisors believe that progress remains acceptable at this stage. The next steps are for the village to be fully screened and handed over to the organising committee in time for the 23rd. Our security team will then be able to fully assess the process.”

An NZOC statement today said it was continuing to work closely with the New Zealand High Commission in New Delhi and the New Zealand government.

They are also liaising closely with Indian officials, whose security preparations have been hampered by the 11th hour work required at the village.

Meanwhile the New Zealand delegation is still looking for further information on Sunday’s shooting of two Taiwanese nationals and for clarification around reports overnight of Australian reporters breaching security at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Athletes are due to begin arriving in New Delhi from Saturday. The NZOC board will meet on Friday to discuss the preparedness of the city to host a safe and secure Games.

Do you think New Zealand’s athletes should go to the Commonwealth Games? Have your say on the message board below.

Be fair to say I’m not looking forward to going to India on Oct 4th, maybe the team will be pulled before then. D day this Friday apparently. Far out, what a shambles.

May happen…

[i]LATEST: New Zealand Commonwealth Games Chef de Mission Dave Currie believes the Commonwealth Games might be called off.

Currie, who is currently in Delhi looking at facilities before the New Zealand team arrives, told Newstalk ZB “the way things are looking, it’s not up to scratch”.

He said: “The reality is that if the village is not ready and athletes can’t come, the implications are that it’s not going to happen.” [/i]


Other delegations fear the Commonwealth Games, due to start on Oct 3, could be cancelled because of the logistical problems surrounding the persistent construction delays at the village and venues - technical issues with plumbing and electrics which have been exposed by the seasonal weather which today brought about a flood alert for the local river.

Games federation chief executive Mike Hooper described the athletes’ village as ‘‘filthy’’ and demanded the government take immediate action.

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England race to avoid outbreak But Hunter said the one good thing to come out of the rains was the immediate threat of dengue fever had abated. The mosquitoes that carry the disease thrive on stagnant water and are expected to be a major problem once the flooding has eased.

The Games have been embroiled in controversy for months with corruption scandals, shoddy building works, poor worker safety, terrorist fears and most recently, an attack on a busload of Taiwanese tourists outside a popular Delhi mosque.

Hunter said it was unrealistic to be able to house the 565-strong English team in hotels beyond next week, when the core group of athletes arrive to prepare for the competition.

Nor was it an option to restrict the athletes’ travelling times to a bare minimum. Hunter said the England team accommodation was not the worst section of the village. New Zealand had brought in contract cleaners to try and fix their residences, but have now relocated.

‘‘There is mud everywhere, where we are there is a lot of remedial work to be done but the days of monsoon rain have delayed the work and there are new challenges that have been revealed around the village,’’ Hunter said. ‘‘There is unsafe electrical equipment in some rooms, in some areas there are plumbing issues, things like doors not fitting properly and one of the walls adjacent to our accommodation which has washing machines has not been plumbed in. On the top floor there is no secure barrier and it needs to be boxed in to become safe.’’

The first English athletes - the lawn bowlers - are due to arrive in Delhi on Friday.


Commonwealth Games organisers have vowed the levels of hygiene at the athletes’ village would be upgraded to meet participants’ expectations.

Several nations expressed concern at the state of the village as fears over the staging of the Games increased.

Team leaders from England, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, Australia and Canada admitted “grave concerns” over the accommodation for the 6,500 team members and said some was “unsafe and unfit for human habitation”.

But on a day when a bridge next to the main stadium also collapsed - injuring up to 23 constructors - five critically - Lalit Bhanot, the secretary general of the organising committee remains convinced the troubles will be resolved ahead of the Games opening on October 3.

At a press conference, Bhanot said: "According to us the room may be clean, but the foreign officials may require a certain standard of cleanliness and hygiene which may differ from our standards.

"So in order to bridge this gap, we have appointed people to ensure the kind of hygiene they are looking for is done.

"Whatever the concerns expressed. We are looking into everything and it will be resolved before the teams arrive.

"We are on the job and everyone is working day and night.

"We have visited villages from various games and if you see ours it is world class.

"The deep cleaning needs to be done but it will not affect the games.

“All other things and all other venues are ready and in the best of condition to conduct these events.”

Major Dalbir Singh, mayor of the Games village, added: "We are all putting things together and the infirmities and the problems and complaints and the points raised are of a reasonably routine nature.

"When you move into the new house there may be things that don’t work.

"There may be some cleaning work that is required, which is being done. It is a continuous ongoing process. It has been going on so far and will be done in the next two days.

“Gaps are there in the system but those gaps have been identified and action has been taken to sort it out.”

India’s urban development minister Jaipal Reddy claims to be as “confident and cool as ever” that the Games will be a success.

Speaking to reporters, Reddy said: "Concerns about cleanliness and maintenance will be addressed urgently and properly. You have nothing to worry about.

"There is no complaint on the quality of the Commonwealth Games village. This is about the quality of services and the quality of maintenance.

"They wanted more labour to be pressed into service. And more labour will be provided to attend to cleanliness and maintenance.

"These are all minor hiccups. We don’t like to neglect any one of them. The athletes have not arrived yet and by that time they come in a couple of days, all concerns will be addressed.

“I can tell you with all the sincerity at my command that I am not worried at all. I am as confident and as cool as ever about organising the Commonwealth Games in a successful, comfortable way.”

Despite the statements of confidence from Delhi, the British teams remain unhappy.

A statement from Commonwealth Games Scotland on Tuesday confirmed their concerns, saying: “Representation has been made to the Commonwealth Games Federation to make a realistic decision as to at what point and under what conditions they would determine whether the Games will be able to go ahead should the village issues not be resolved.”

The Scottish team were given other accommodation after complaining but this still required a major cleaning and maintenance programme carried out by team officials and local volunteers.

“However many of the other blocks in the residential zone still remain in a highly unsatisfactory state,” said their statement.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell has admitted that the village is “seriously compromised” and has written to the Indian Cabinet Secretary expressing his “great concern”.

He said: "The village is the cornerstone of any Games and the athletes deserve the best possible environment to prepare for their competition.

“Many nations that have already sent their advanced parties to set up within the village have made it abundantly clear that, as of the afternoon of September 20, the Commonwealth Games village is seriously compromised.”

Commonwealth Games England said: "There is a lot still to be done in the village and this needs to be done with some urgency so that it is ready for the arrival of our first athletes on Friday.

“Since our first inspection, monsoon weather has highlighted a number of different issues which need to be addressed including plumbing, electrical and other operational details.”

Wales chef de mission Chris Jenkins said impressive progress has been made with his team’s accommodation but there are still major concerns for other teams.

Jenkins said: "We have been working closely with the Delhi organising committee to resolve the issues we faced on first inspection of our tower and while there has been impressive progress made, we also still feel there are a number of operational issues that need to be addressed.

“We are in a good position because we came out early to set up. Therefore, we have had time to improve the standard of our building. Our major concern is for other countries yet to arrive.”

Jenkins added that the security was also “impressive”.

As dialogue over the athletes’ village continued, news filtered through that the bridge situated near the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium had collapsed.

The 100 metres long bridge was being constructed in order to provide better access to the stadium from a car park.

According to officials the bridge collapsed when labourers were in the process of applying a concrete layer to the structure.

Indian media outraged over Games

From the traditional daily newspapers, to India’s countless TV news channels and the hundreds of blogs there is no longer embarrassment over the New Delhi Commonwealth Games – it is pure rage.

While there is plenty of anger to go around, today’s prime target has been India Organising Committee Secretary-General Lalit Bhanot who publicly argued that foreigners have different toilet standards to Indians.

“These rooms are clean to both you and us,” he told a press conference.

“However, it may not appear so to some others. They want certain standards in hygiene and cleanliness which may differ from our perception.”

The lordly Telegraph of Kolkata headed its story: “Lalit shames the country.” Their story gave up on objectivity, saying that “what shocked the media persons most, at Tuesday’s hurriedly called press conference, at the OC headquarters, was his observation about how hygiene is perceived differently in India and abroad….

“Bhanot’s attitude towards the entire issue was appalling.” On NDTV-24 hours the remark has been replayed several times an hour with announcers each time expressing outrage.

For many in India, the debacle merely confirms what they already took as truth; that Delhi is a home to scandals, rouges, the corrupt and the inept. Just over a year ago, Delhi’s Chief Minister, the unfortunately named Sheila Dikshit, appealed to the rest of India to help “civilise Delhiites” in time for the games.

Arguably she has failed. The Times of India (TOI) – which has editions in every major centre in India as well as heavyweight web presence – has headlined the drama “World heaps scorn on filthy Village”.

“As the stink grew and the crap hit the ceiling, the people behind the preparation of the Games … either ducked the media or proffered ridiculous excuses in order to explain away their incompetence and worse which were shaming the entire country.”

They included Prime Minister John Key’s comment that there was no point sending a contingent if “they end up feeling like I currently feel”. Adding to the Indian scorn came news that China had completed the athletes village for the Asian Games – which are not on until November.

“The contrast only drove home India’s collosal incompetence and shame,” TOI reported.

They added the silver lining – if that was what it was – was that countries were still planning to compete even if countries like New Zealand were taking matters into their own hands.
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“The Kiwis reportedly asked its high commission to send over a cleaning service company to get the job done in the Village, while the Scottish delegates actually cleaned all the rooms allotted to the Scottish contingent themselves with the help of volunteers.”

* Dozens of comments have piled up on the web story:
* Being a Indian can I sue those shameless politicians and corrupt officials? They have put our country on shame after gulping taxpayers money.
* If it was China they will shoot them in Public.
* Ashamed to be an Indian! I hurt every time I read more.

A columnist at the national Hindustan Times, Rajesh Mahapatra, noted most Indians were not surprised at what was happening.

“This had to happen, because this happens all the time, and at all places, in India. So, why single out the Commonwealth Games?

“Just 10 days left, we are still building roads; there are potholes everywhere; we get stuck for hours in traffic everyday; these guys (the Games organisers – there are many of them) have really messed up, etc. etc. I wonder if we could have done things differently.”

The Hindustan Times covered this morning’s collapse of a bridge at the main games stadium.

“It was a black joke construction-weary Delhiites got used to passing around — that one of the newly built Commonwealth Games structures could come crashing down,” the newpaper reported.

“But the nightmare everyone hoped would never turn real came partly true on Tuesday.

Just 12 days before the Commonwealth Games begin and two days before athletes start to arrive, a pedestrian bridge next to the showpiece Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium completely collapsed.”

DNA, a mainly Mumbai daily and website, summed up the scandal with the headline: “Commonwealth village stinks…”

The best line in that whole article…

“…the unfortunately named Sheila Dikshit…”

The irony.

But the truest line in the article is “Delhi is a home to scandals, rouges, the corrupt and the inept”.
That should really read India, not just Delhi!

How did India get the games? Their bid must have been quite impressive!

Now part of the roof or ceiling - not sure yet which - is reported to have collapsed at the weightlifting venue which is attached to the Main Stadium.

Slum games?

THE Delhi Commonwealth Games are in turmoil after the ceiling of the weightlifting stadium collapsed and terrified world champion athletes withdraw.

The latest incident comes after the collapse of a pedestrian bridge which injured 23 people.

Australian World discus champion Dani Samuels revealed today that she would not go to Delhi amid fears for her safety

Speaking exclusively with The Daily Telegraph, she said increased terrorism threats had “frightened” her out of the Delhi Games, set to begin in 11 days.

English triple jump world champion Phillips Idowu also confirmed on Twitter that he will not defend his Commonwealth Games title because of fears over his safety, explaining that he has “children to think about”.

All of those injured in the bridge incident - five of whom were critical - were labourers working on the 50m walkover connecting the main Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to a carpark.

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The stadium is to host the opening ceremony and athletics for the October 3-14 games.

The workers were cementing foundations to strengthen the steel structure when it collapsed.

Note - Foundations are built 1st, not last. It’s all in the preparation, you don’t bodge up a pillar as an afterthought with foundations.

Yesterday the morning show on channel 7 said amongst those injured were 4 kids.

I have just seen a photo of the ceiling that collapsed on chanel 9 news, it was 4 or 5 ceiling tiles that fell out, it just goes to show how much influence the media has.


Games village exposed as Indian PM set to seize control

The full extent of the appalling conditions in the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village has been revealed in photos leaked by a Games official.

The pictures, which show filthy bathrooms, animal footprints on beds and exposed wiring, emerged as the Indian Prime Minister prepared to take control of the Games.

Despite the shocking photos, New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie remains increasingly optimistic that the Games will go ahead on October 3 as planned.

A meeting with Delhi’s chief minister has lifted his hopes that the problem-plagued Games village – which was described as “uninhabitable” a few days ago – can be fixed in time for the opening ceremony.

Currie and officials from other competing countries met Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and 40 administrators yesterday.

He said Mrs Dikshit was the first official to admit there was a lot of work to be done and was taking responsibility. Before her arrival there had been denial from the organising committee that there was a problem.

“I guess I am more optimistic that someone has taken ownership,” he said. “But we will wait and see if she has the capacity to move things. It is like trying to stop the Titanic and put it in another direction.”

Currie has delayed the arrival of the New Zealand athletes until September 28. He said a final cut-off date for solving the problems had not been discussed, but time was running out.

"There is a range of plumbing issues, toilets not working, blocked, leaking; some wiring issues; some general health and safety things. There is some leaking in some rooms and still no phone and internet connection.

“We don’t want to move in until things are completed … but there does appear to be more of a will of effort over the last 24 hours.”

Currie said another meeting with fellow chefs de mission was scheduled for today. They want to see some immediate progress and ultimately want the Commonwealth Games Federation to be the one to say the village is safe, secure and complete.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee will meet today, with a decision looming on whether the country will compete in the Games.

The arrival of New Zealand athletes in New Delhi was put back yesterday, because of the shambles over team accommodation.

NZOC president Mike Stanley and secretary-general Barry Maister will brief the NZOC board today after returning from New Delhi.

Mr Stanley said yesterday it was obvious that the village would not be ready for the first New Zealand athletes to move into on Saturday, as previously envisaged. Their arrival date has been pushed back to Tuesday.

“It is tremendously disappointing,” he said.

“The long list of outstanding issues has made it clear the village will now not be ready for New Zealand athletes to move in as planned,”

Mr Stanley and Mr Maister flew to New Delhi after hearing of the shocking state of the New Zealand rooms in the team village from New Zealand team chef de mission Dave Currie.
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“This is not a matter of comfort or luxury; it’s a matter of hygiene and safety,” Mr Stanley said.

“We know how hard this must be for athletes and we’re continuing to push the Commonwealth Games Federation and Organising Committee for an urgent resolution,” he said.

Currie said other areas of the Games were shaping up well.

However, Currie’s comments that the security was among the most stringent he had experienced contradicts that of a company providing security to Australians attending the event, which has warned that the chances of a serious terrorist incident had increased because of a failure to “lock down” venues. The security expert warned that radical groups had abandoned mobile phone technology to avoid detection.

The Sydney Morning Herald also understands that the Australian Commonwealth Games Association has made its own arrangements for the cleaning of their accommodation.

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, held crisis talks yesterday with his Sports Minister, M S Gill, and the Urban Development Minister, S Jaipaul Reddy, who is chairman of a top-level ministerial supervisory group that has been criticised over its failure to ensure a smooth build-up to the Games. Despite this meeting there is continuing speculation about the participation of many teams.

Although the Delhi Police Commissioner, Y S Dadwal, promised ‘‘foolproof’’ security, intelligence experts still believe an attack is more likely than not.

The head of one company employed to protect Australians said: ''We’ve changed our assessment because we’ve received intelligence that terror organisations are operating without cellular phones, which means assessments of their levels of ‘chatter’ are totally outdated."

The security expert criticised authorities for failing to cordon off venues. "Lockdown should have begun about two weeks ago, whereby search protocol is put into place for anybody entering certain important venues, but that just hasn’t happened.

“Our assessment on the likelihood of an attack hasn’t changed. We still think it more likely than not but we now believe there’s a much greater chance of a major terrorist incident with a high number of fatalities than we thought before. It also becomes more likely that we could see a co-ordinated attack with multiple explosive devices.”

Mike Hooper, the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said he noticed a positive change among the representatives of competing nations yesterday.

"There was definitely a mood change this morning at the chefs de mission meeting,’’ he said. "There are still lots of issues to address but it’s clear the right level of resources are being made available and Sheila Dikshit’s team are being seen to get things done. It’s a shame it didn’t happen before.’’

But Hooper’s request that the federation’s president, Michael Fennell, meet Dr Singh has yet to be granted. Fennell, who was expected to arrive in India last night, is due to meet the top public servant today.

Mike Keelan, the acting chief executive of the Australian Weightlifting Federation, said that after talking to the association’s chief executive, Perry Crosswhite, he was satisfied the village would be fine.

The three towers where the Australian team would stay were ‘‘a little bit dirty’’ but contract cleaners the association had brought in had left them pristine, Keelan said. He said Crosswhite had reassured him the weightlifting venue was safe despite its ceiling collapsing this week.


When a nation bids to host a Games, it should understand that their ability to present the Games and all services and construction work related to it will be assessed by everyone thinking of attending and/or participating.

These Commonweaqlth Games should have represented a “coming out party” for the Indian nation, an invitation to the world to visit and do business with India. It is virtually solely in that context that the vast expense of staging such an event can in any way be justified, even as spending on health and education services often takes a haircut.

But by its tardy and sometimes shoddy work practices, its failure to adhere closely to the construction time-line, India has invited the sort of media criticism we now see.

India’s work practices were always going to attract public scrutiny. It comes with the package of hosting an international tournament.

But the unstable social and business environment, the apparent ineptitude of local Indian authorities to implement their grand design at the building face will have caused immense public relations damage to poor India.

It is such a shame. This exercise in frustration has also shown that the leaders in India also cannot be trusted. They continue to insist all is well even as it is apparent things are not. The Games have gone from the back page to the front page and that is rarely a good sign.

Filth in the apartments in the athletes’ village, sewage that backfills and overflows, little things like the wrong taps fitted for hot and cold water, shower doors which open inward instead of correctly outward are all issues that can be fixed over time.

But the time has come to deliver these Games and blaming the extended Monsoon rains for the problems is just an embarassing excuse.

All of these issues - sewage malfunction, electrical short circuits, concrete bridge collapse, and access to venues and village looking like a construction site with rubble piled in some places hard up against tourist sites and Games facilities, not to mention what should have been footpaths - could have been resolved had the construction work adhered to the recommended timeline.

I heard an interview with an Aussie architect whose company designed a couple of venues - gymnastics I think was one - and he said he warned the Delhi authorities two-and-a-half years ago they were already then going to fail to complete the Games precinct unless they doubled their efforts. Instead it appears they sat on their hands until these last couple of days.

Imagine trying to do business in a society like that. You’d go bankrupt. That, sadly, looks like the take-home message of India’s presentation of these Games. And no amount of Bollywood glitz will have blinded anyone to that sorry reality.

I think this is what’s going to hurt India in the long run.

It’s very unfortunate.

I wonder why they procrastinated… There must be some type of reason/explanation.

Some more pics from Uk website…unbelievable state of affairs…

Have they been murdering people in them bathrooms?.