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Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Commonwealth Games 'in jeopardy'

By Sunil Raman
BBC News, Delhi

Site for Commonwealth Games
The site for the games has yet to be developed

Officials in India in charge of the Commonwealth Games have issued an urgent warning that the country could miss out on hosting the 2010 games.

They say that a dispute over the construction of the athletes' village needs to be resolved soon.

Critics say that improvements to infrastructure in the city are moving at an excruciatingly slow pace.

They argue that construction work on several stadiums due to be used in the games has been seriously delayed.

Games organisers plan to build the athletes' village next to the River Yamuna.

But the site actually covers part of the bed of the river and there are fears that construction on it will threaten flows of groundwater and the ecology of the waterway.

Environmentalists say that they are determined to protect the Yamuna and have filed a case that is grinding slowly through the courts.

The chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Austin Sealey, who has inspected the site, urged the organising committee to sort out the row urgently.

He told reporters that any change in the venue of the games village for 8,500 athletes would "seriously jeopardise" India's prospects of hosting of the games.

Mr Sealey also expressed concern at the delay in the construction of a velodrome for cycling events. He asked the organisers to build a temporary velodrome if necessary.

Mr Sealy said that India has the manpower to expedite building work at various venues.

The next inspection of the site is due in March.

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