Friday, May 22, 2009

DDA Wants to Increase Work Force at CWG Village to meet Deadlines

Delhi Development Authority has asked Emaar MGF to increase the number of workers at the Commonwealth Games Village site to 10,000 for the project to meet the December 2009 deadline the company has been given. After that period, DDA is supposed to do them up and the flats will be ready only by April 2010.

The project at present has only about 1,800 workers and work is visibly on at only a few of the towers something that Emaar officials explain by saying that ‘‘groups’’ move from one tower to the next after their work in finished in the first. In the beginning there used to be 8,000 workers at the site. Then the recession hit the economy and there were allegations by the company, Ahluwalia Constructions, about not receiving payment and myriad other problems and the number of workers started dwindling. DDA has now received instructions to ‘‘push’’ the company.

The Games Village ran into a spate of trouble, including a stand-off with Akshardham Temple early on and more recently, a fund crunch that forced DDA to buy out some expensive flats at the site to pump in the much required funds. The Games are exactly 500 days away and Emaar claims work on the village is 44% complete.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, on a guided tour of the site, proclaimed satisfaction at the pace of work and said all CWG projects are on schedule. ‘‘Everything will be done by March 2010 and only the rugby stadium and the velodrome will be a little delayed,’’ Kalmadi said.

There was an interesting catch in the Emaar claim of 44% completion though. The flat Kalmadi visited was a striking contrast to the flat immediately above it and thousands of others at the site. While the showpiece had flooring and walls done, a storey higher there were brick walls just beginning to be cemented, freshly made concrete floors covered with water and iron rods sticking out of what is just the first signs of a balcony. In fact, Emaar-MGF staff, while preventing Times City from going upstairs, said it is a ‘‘safety precaution’’ because ‘‘something may break and hurt people’’.

Speaking off the record, Emaar officials said the flat Kalmadi visited is 90% complete and the tower will be the first off the block. ‘‘The total project completion status is 44%. This visit was to give an idea of the real thing. We are confident that we will finish the project on time,’’ said an official, refusing to reveal the status of individual towers. The confidence levels may be high but the company, DDA and IOA still have a long way to go.

Kalmadi said the biggest challenge at hand is to ensure security for the 70-member nations who will come for the Commonwealth General Assembly in October. He also claimed that the sale of television rights has emerged as a money-spinner far beyond expectations with $50 million to be possibly made out of it.

At present, the project has only 1800 workers and DDA wants this number to be increased up to 10,000 to meet Games deadline