TORONTO, Sept 22 (IANS) - Canada Tuesday hinted that it is ready to pull out of the Commonwealth Games if India quickly fails to fix the problems - lack of preparedness at venues and fears about security.
The Canadian contingent was to start arriving in the Indian capital from Friday for the Games which start Oct 3.
Taking Indian organizers to task, Canadian officials strongly hinted that if all the problems are not fixed before the arrival date of their athletes, the country might pull out of the Games.
Apart from issues of security and site preparedness, what has heightened Canadian anxiety is the collapse of a pedestrian bridge near Jawaharlal Stadium - the main venue - injuring 23 people Tuesday, the shooting of two Taiwanese nationals by suspected terrorists and rising dengue cases in Delhi.
In a teleconference Tuesday with Canada's advance team of sport and security officials in Delhi, Commonwealth Games Canada president Andrew Pipe said, "This would have been an opportunity for India to shine.
Instead, I think, it risks considerable international embarrassment unless some of these deficiencies can be addressed.
"It is not as if the Indian government has been unaware of these problems - and that is, I think, the source of so much frustration on the part of many of us.''
In an angry tone, he said, "Personally, I am deeply disappointed with the reactions of the Indian government and the organizing committee. They reflect, it seems to me, a certain level of indifference that borders at times on the intransigent - and they have been glacial in responding to the concerns that have been raised by colleagues and I for weeks and, indeed, months leading up to these Games.
"We're addressing an extremely challenging situation and monitoring developments very closely."
The National Post newspaper quoted Scott Stevenson, Commonwealth Games Canada's (CGC) director of sport, who reached Delhi last week to prepare for Team Canada's arrival, as saying, "We are deeply concerned that the condition of the residence facilities is not at all what we expected, nor anything like what was promised.
"Beyond the major cleanup required, there are other issues with plumbing, wiring, furnishings, Internet access, and mobile telephone coverage," said Stevenson, adding that Canada is "committed to staying in the village - and only the village."
He added, "We recognise that the monsoon rains have made things more difficult for workers here. But the current conditions are unacceptable and we have formally requested that the Commonwealth Games Federation and the organizing committee get these issues resolved prior to the athlete arrivals that begin on Friday."
Expressing his "serious concern" over safety, security and site preparedness, Canadians Sports Minister Gary Lunn also said, ``It's going to take a lot of work (by India) to rectify" these problems.