New Delhi, Sept. 22: Sniffed out from the pile of the Commonwealth Games mess: a potential royal stink.
Officials discovered a filthy lavatory earmarked for the Prince of Wales this morning, sources said, the problem coming to light on a day a false ceiling caved in at a Games venue.
The lavatory is at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue where the opening ceremony for the October 3-14 event is scheduled and the place where the hanging showpiece footbridge gave way last evening.
The toilet was found to be dirty while tissue rolls hung untidily and soap-dishes were unaligned, said a source. A pin holding the tissue roll was found missing while soap dishes were not screwed tightly. The quality of construction, in any case, is not world class but a neater look may have helped salvage matters.
The toilet travails come barely just over a week before Prince Charles, who represents the Queen, arrives on October 2 and delivers a speech at the opening session the next day.
The shoddily done-up lavatory is in a lobby where the royal guest is expected to wait for around 30 minutes before being led to the VIP enclosure to watch the three-hour ceremony. Before long shows, dignitaries often use such rest rooms.
The only consolation was that the problem was detected this morning. The stadium is to be handed over to security agencies on September 23 midnight and sealed, after which such lapses in construction could well have gone unnoticed.
The poor piece of work — one of the many surfacing with alarming regularity in the controversy-riddled preparations — was discovered at the same advanced security liaison meeting where the ceiling cracks came to light, the source said. Officials of the Special Protection Group, Intelligence Bureau, the Prime Ministers Office as well as the Central Public Works Department attended the meeting.
While the Centre rushed to allay fears about tiles coming off ceilings, officials conceded filthy lavatories could have proved more embarrassing as it would have revealed a lack of concern about ensuring even the basics.
But such sanitary snafus arent entirely new. Over the past few days, the authorities have struggled to stave off reports that stray dogs had wandered into flats meant for athletes in the Games Village and soiled the rooms.
A Scottish delegation, whose country will host the next Games in 2014, put off their scheduled arrival tomorrow by at least four days to give the authorities more time to make Games Village liveable, sources said.
Late tonight, Union cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar asked the Delhi government to take direct control of the complex and ensure its upkeep. Till now, it was under the Delhi Development Authority, which is overseen by the Union urban development ministry.
The Congress today expressed concern over the Games preparations and hoped every step would be taken by the Delhi and central governments to rectify matters. It said those accountable would be hauled up but the priority was to hold the event successfully.
Whatever is happening is unfortunate. Fixing accountability for this and cases of corruption will happen but right now, the focus should be on holding the Games as the countrys pride is at stake, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.