Delhi trashes unhygienic talk


NEW DELHI, September 21- A top Commonwealth Games official suggested Tuesday that complaints about hygiene and cleanliness in the Delhi athletes' village were due to the exacting demands of Western countries."Everyone has different standards about cleanliness. The Westerners have different standards, we have different standards," organising committee secretary-general Lalit Bhanot told a packed media conference.

He said, however, that the workers had been instructed to deliver "the quality of hygiene needed at the village to make our guests happy".

Bhanot said there was "nothing shameful" in the strong complaints voiced by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and countries that have arrived early in the capital such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and England.

"We understand the concerns shown by some member countries and the CGF," Bhanot said.

"We are doing our best to clean the entire village well in time."

The Commonwealth Games Federation on Tuesday delivered a stinging criticism of the athletes’ residential wings, saying they were "filthy" and several nations had been "shocked" by the "seriously compromised" village.

"They’re filthy. You can’t occupy them," CGF chief executive Mike Hooper told reporters. "They need a deep clean. There’s builders’ dust and rubble in doorways, shower doors the wrong way round, toilets that don’t work."

There was also "excrement in places it shouldn’t be", he said — referring to problems thought to be the result of thousands of labourers using the toilets in the "certainly uninhabitable" tower blocks.

Bhanot, however, played down any concerns and said everything will be in order when athletes start arriving from Thursday.

"This morning, the cabinet secretary, officials from the Prime Minister’s office, even the Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna, visited the village to supervise the work.

"This is a world-class village, probably one of the best ever. I have been to many Games over the years and there was never a village of such high quality."

The Commonwealth Games will bring together 7,000 athletes and officials from countries and territories mostly from the former British empire.

The village was partly opened last week, with the practice area and canteen praised by Hooper and the England team for being of Olympic standard.