Friday, May 22, 2009

Completing Commonwealth Games project – Not a Piece of Cake

Just a week after the Commonwealth Games Federation returned "satisfied" after a review of the preparations for the sports extravaganza 17 months away, optimism in Delhi government is at an all-time high.

Yet in terms of concrete figures the picture does not look all that rosy with some projects still being very far from completion at less than 10% work done. There are also reports of how an important Games project is stalled because of a face-off caused by the insistence of a senior person in Delhi administration to change the plan.

Moreover, there are other issues like procurement of turf which has now forced PWD to ‘‘re-adjust’’ completion dates for Thyagaraj Stadium as the department was told during the recently concluded review that the turf at all venues practice or competition would have to be identical, to ensure which it is preferable that the turf is procured centrally. The construction that was nearly 70% done had to therefore be slowed down.

Getting permissions from all agencies often took much longer than the department had bargained for. In case of the Velodrome Bypass a standoff with DUAC meant that only a special clearance from the LG would get the project moving.

The usual irritants like absconding contractors four laning of the Ring Road over Barapullah Nullah near Sarai Kale Khan was stalled for a while after the contractor fled have also been a problem. DDA officials, however, said that though there were some hurdles all their projects will be completed on time. There were, however, some pleasant surprises during the review too. Work on the Barapullah Nullah Road which began just a few months ago is over 30% done.

‘‘All our projects are on schedule. Some like Chhatrasal Stadium, Salimgarh Fort-Velodrome Road and the Ludlow Castle training venue started only recently but the pace of work since then has been very good. We are very confident of meeting all our deadlines and have already made necessary course corrections,’’ said PWD secretary K K Sharma.

One such course correction was in case of the Naraina flyover which has already received a lot of flak because of the missed deadlines. Sharma says that constructing a flyover without stopping the very busy intersection was a challenge which the PWD finally negotiated by deciding to construct it one side at a time. During the recent review, the committee had asked the department to speed up the Barapullah Nullah Road constructions further so that it is completed by March 2010. Accordingly, special equipment for cantilever construction is being used there, revealed an official.

‘‘In case of stadia there were many issues that were not clear. There were generic guidelines given but we had to keep waiting for the specific instructions to be issued. For example, even something like the number of CCTV cameras at a particular venue had to be cleared from the organising committee,’’ Sharma said.

Checking The Status

Status of Commonwealth Games projects (figures in brackets indicate expected completion date)

Chhatrasal Stadium | 10% (DECEMBER 2009)

Thyagaraj Stadium | 68% (SEPT-OCT 2008)

Training venue at Ludlow Castle | 5% (DECEMBER 2009)

Barapullah Nullah Road | 30% (MARCH 2010)

Salimgarh Fort Velodrome Road | 6-7% (JULY 2010)

Nelson Mandela Marg flyover | 70% (AUG-SEPT 2009)

Aruna Asaf Ali Road flyover | 80% (AUG-SEPTEMBER 2009)

Rao Tula Ram Marg flyover | 9% (MAY 2010) Naraina flyover | 60% (MARCH 2010)

ITO Chungi clover leaf | 65% (AUG 2009) Ghazipur flyover | 33% (MAY 2010)

Neela Hauz Bridge | 24% (MARCH 2010)

UP Link Road | 7% (MAY 2010)

Upgrading of streetlights in south Delhi and trans-Yamuna areas expected to be done in 3-4 months. Work on those in north and west Delhi has not started

DDA Projects

Yamuna Sports Complex | 40% (December 2009)

Siri Fort Sports Complex | 35% (December 2009)

Games Village | 44% (April 2010)