Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell criticised the mess around the village on Thursday after a two-day inspection of the venues for the October 3-14 Games in the Indian capital.
“I feel some buildings in the village could have been done better,” Fennell told reporters. “The international zone of the village, like the dining room and kitchen, is behind time.
“The sanitation has to improve and the hygiene has to be of the highest standards. There is need to address the roads around the village, the landscaping and the cleanliness.”
Lalit Bhanot, secretary-general of the Indian organising committee and chief spokesman, said Fennell’s concerns had been passed on to the relevant authorities looking after the village.
“We are giving priority to ensure the athletes do not face any trouble at the village. It will be a world-class facility when they arrive next month,” Bhanot told AFP.
Fennell, who also inspected all 17 sports venues for the Games, said he was pleased with the progress that had been made, but that there remained a lot of work to do in the next 44 days before the event opens.
“I leave Delhi feeling reassured that the preparations are solid, but I also leave with the knowledge that a tremendous amount still needs to be done,” he said.
“It’s been a long journey over the last six-and-a-half years, but the last lap is the most important part of the journey.”
He said that organisers had been told about concerns over catering and transport for the athletes and officials, but he was confident everything would be in place before the October 3 opening ceremony.
The event, already the most expensive Commonwealth Games in history at around three billion dollars, has been marred by charges of rampant corruption, dubious contracts and poor workmanship.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has virtually taken over supervision of the preparations, with senior bureaucrats reporting on a daily basis to the cabinet secretariat.
Meanwhile, in a further blow to the beleaguered organisers, the government ordered state-run companies to hold back sponsorship money worth 2.6 billion rupees (56 million dollars) earmarked for the Games.
“We have already asked public-sector units to hold on to the funds,” heavy industry minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was quoted as saying in the Indian media on Friday.
On Thursday, two major state-run power firms, NTPC and Powergrid, said they will withhold eight million dollars of combined sponsorship and demanded an audit of the four million dollars they had already put into the event.
The Games, India’s biggest sporting festival since the Asian Games in 1982, will feature athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories, in 17 disciplines.