Monday, August 25, 2008

Reality Check - New Delhi Municipal Corporation

Enter the main gate of Talkatora stadium and nothing seems like before. Construction material lies strewn all over the area and the wooden interiors of the main dome are gone. The floor is littered with chipped wood, thermocol and chunks of old glue holding the torn cladding together. The roof of the dome is also being brought down to allow light to flow in from empty sockets. NDMC officials said this is to be the venue for the boxing event. The wooden floor will be replaced with a state-of-the-art boxing ring, the benches with seats, warm-up cubicles and a new sports facility block under construction outside the indoor stadium will be linked to the boxing ring through a tunnel exclusively for players. The sports facility block is under construction and NDMC feels that it will be able to deliver on this project by the July 2009 deadline.
However, the picture is not as rosy at the Shivaji Stadium where a training venue for hockey is to be carved out. While the old structure has been demolished by NDMC and excavation work has started, sources said it is the presence of about a dozen shops and restaurants within the stadium premises which have slowed down things. The shopkeepers and the restaurant have gone to court over this. NDMC officials that the shops were given licences by NDMC which have expired in most cases. Thus they have been asked to move out as the stadium has to be renovated for the 2010 Games. But now that the matter is in various courts, the NDMC will have to wait for orders. The council expects the orders to come in by the end of this month or early next month. Till these are removed the complete site cannot be torn apart and the practice court with a capacity for 9000 cannot be created. The project has a deadline of November 2009. While officials agree that the delay is worrisome, they feel the project can be completed in time.