Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Commonwealth Games Venues may miss mock Games Deadline

Test Events were scheduled To Take off On Jan 13, Some Training Venues Yet To Be Given To Contractors

If Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials are to be believed, sites for some of the Commonwealth Games training venues, at least parts of them, have not even been handed over to contractors yet. With the organizing committee coming out with the list of event dates for the Games, both the training and competition sites will have to be ready by January 13, 2010, when the test events take off. Incidentally, the test events are being pitched as the mock Games, designed to ensure that facilities are battle-ready.

Officials at both Yamuna Sports Complex (YSC) as well as Siri Fort Complex admit that work on training venues are going at a slower pace than the competition venues as the former are being given piecemeal to contractors.

This is to allow parts of the venue to be used by members of the sports complexes. For instance, both the squash and badminton courts at Siri Fort Complex are being refurbished as training venues for the Games. But work on these courts has been taking place in pieces, so that members can still use the facilities. DDA officials claimed this has led to delays, but added it would not impact deadlines.

However, with the organizing committee coming out with the test event schedule, DDA has internally asked officials to move deadlines forward. This is especially true of the above two complexes, work on both of which was scheduled to be completed only by February-March 2010.

The schedule incidentally starts with a 4-nation hockey tournament at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium (MDC) in January, with the next event, the shooting championship, set for February, followed by the archery tournament in March. The shooting events will take place in the Dr Karni Singh and CRPF Shooting Range while YSC will host the archery events.

Interestingly, both the MDC stadium, which is being given a complete makeover by CPWD, and YSC, which is the responsibility of the DDA, was originally set for a 2009 end completion deadline. However, work at all venues is nowhere near completion.

While sources said the MDC makeover was only 65-70% complete, there was still plenty to finish at YSC, with work having started recently on the table tennis indoor stadium. The picture is no better at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range, though sources claimed work should be over by year-end.

The rest of the schedule is equally daunting, especially for DDA, which has been consistently claiming that both Siri Fort and YSC would be ready by ‘‘early’’ 2010. Events are scheduled for April at Siri Fort. Sources at DDA said work is expected to start on a fast track with the test event schedule being released. Sources at YSC added,

‘‘The first half of construction was time-consuming, as it required elaborate engineering and electrical work. Now the facade and basic roof work is left, to be followed by peripheral fittings, which doesn’t take time.’’

They admitted though that work would be ready by early March, which would not give DDA much time to face the test event.