A stormy meeting rocks OC office

All is not well inside the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee office on Jai Singh Road. With each passing day the meetings are getting stormier as was apparent at an executive board meeting on Tuesday, which ended up as a verbal duel between chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper.

Kalmadi demanded an explanation from Hooper on going public with the problems in the Games Village. A day earlier, Hooper had told the media claiming that the Village is not 'livable', even as Games Federation president Mike Fennell shot off a letter to the Cabinet Secretary saying the Games village is filthy and a matter of concern.

According to sources, unfazed by Kalmadi's questioning, Hooper retorted: "Do not raise your voice." To this Kalmadi replied, "I am not the one who is raising his voice, it is you who is going around complaining." Kalmadi's reasoning being that while the Organising Committee and senior Indian bureaucrats were going around fire-fighting, Hooper was calling the Games Village "unlivable and filthy" in front of the media.

Meanwhile, executive board member Vijay Kumar Malhotra sought details of the opening and closing ceremonies. As OC vice-chairman Randhir Singh started giving details of the ceremonies, calling all facilities were world class, Hooper reportedly interjected saying "the truth is completely contradictory".

At the two-hour meeting, the members also held discussions on who will finally declare the Games open. According to the constitution of the Commonwealth Games, "The Queen or her representative" is on top of the protocol list and is the person who declares the Games open by reading out the message on the baton. While President Pratibha Singh Patil is expected to be present during the opening ceremony of the Games, the executive board could not arrive at a conclusive decision on who will do the honours.

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