Monday, August 25, 2008

Reality Check - Central Public Works Department

The overall responsibility of the 2010 Commonwealth Games is of the Sports Authority of India (SAI). CPWD, the consultant appointed by SAI is working against a December 2009 deadline to renovate Games venues.
The leading English daily Times of India conducted its reality check with Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, venue of the opening and closing ceremonies. It will also host events like athletics, lawn bowling and weightlifting. And what it found..?
Just 20% of the required work has been completed in the main stadium. CPWD has removed the four giant lights that were a city landmark for decades to make way for a roof over the spectators’ gallery as per international norms. The benches too are to be replaced by plush chairs to accommodate as many as 66,000 spectators. There will also be special centers for players, VIPs and media.
CPWD has only recently started work on the 2,500-capacity auditorium that will serve as the weightlifting venue. Only 6% of the work has been completed. CPWD sources said the approvals for the temporary structure which will be the lawn bowling venue, have been obtained. Work on the structure is yet to begin.
When an official of the CPWD was questioned that how the department plans to meet the stringent 2009 deadline, senior officials said now that the necessary approvals have been got and the work has begun, and the pace is expected to pick up and deadlines met, the official said.
They do not sound as optimistic when talking about the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, venue of gymnastics, wrestling and cycling events. Work on the timber track cycling velodrome is yet to start. Still awaiting a green signal on certain specifications from the government, the CPWD has put March 2010 as a safe deadline for the project. About 30% of the work in the velodrome is done and CPWD has set a deadline of August 2009 for it. The roof and the large indoor stadium hall with a seating capacity of 16,000 is being overhauled and a warm-up area is also being created. The deadline for the wrestling area which will have a seating capacity for 7,500 is September 2009 and work has only just started.
At Major Dhyanchand National Stadium three turfs and a warm-up area are to be carved out for hockey. At the site, construction is on in full swing. According to CPWD, work is on schedule to meet the November 2009 deadline.
At the SP Mukherjee Swimming Pool next to Talkatora Garden, the CPWD suffered a setback when after all the clearances it found that the land where the swimming pool and related facilities are to be developed for aquatics and diving competitions is located in the ridge area. The clearances took time and work on the swimming venue which will have a seating capacity of 5,000 could start only some time ago. Only 9% work is done and the project is already delayed by 46 days.
The smallest of the projects is the Karnail Singh shooting range where a double storey structure and the play area have to be readied. The CPWD sees work starting here in about a month’s time.