Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2010 CWG stadia work at Snail’s Pace

Weeks after the brouhaha over the Commonwealth Games Federation chief’s strictures and the organizing committee’s assurances about getting venues ready on time for the October 2010 Games, a report compiled by a private consultant, Event Knowledge Services (EKS), for the Organizing Committee (OC) in August this year has come down hard on the pace of work, claiming all projects are going to over-shoot their deadlines. More damningly, the report clearly points to the role of the OC, which, it says, may further delay handover of the venues.

The internal report, compiled as a status check of venue development, throws a bleak light on the work taking place, especially in seven of the major competition stadia, SP Mukherjee, Jawaharlal Nehru, Siri Fort, Indira Gandhi, National stadium, Karni Singh and RK Khanna.

All the venues are delayed by three months or more, according to the report, and are expected to miss their deadlines by a substantial margin. Interestingly, the report goes on to state that even if actual construction work gets completed, the lack of co-ordination between the various agencies involved and the OC may delay the handover further.

It then goes on to suggest that the OC venues department takes a ‘‘very hands-on’’ approach with the agencies involved to ensure that deadlines are met, especially with the Test Events lined up from January 2010.

The reason for this is the lack of clarity in the critical matter of assigning ‘‘field of play’’ design process. The FOP is basically the playing field concerned or pitch for the sports. According to the report, the issue has been brewing for some months now, and has assumed critical proportions. ‘‘Field of play issues are still a major issue for many venues. On numerous occasions the agencies requested information from the organizing committee concerning the Field of Play Sport Surfaces.

In addition to the FOP surfacing issues, there are FOP issues at JNA-Athletics, IGC-Track Cycling, NSH-Hockey and JNB-Lawn Bowls and SMA-Swimming. All these agencies require FOP consultant analysis as soon as possible to assure the agencies are delivering a competition venue that meets international standards...’’ says the report.

It further says that the SPM needs immediate intervention, as the FOP here is ‘‘very difficult’’. ‘‘Technical construction problem and the time remaining until the handover date is not sufficient to design, tender and construct an international level competition facility.’’

A look at the report’s progress data on the venues shows that the delay over the OC providing the required details is quite a bit. For instance, both the National Stadium and Jawaharlal Nehru are awaiting input from the OC for critical functional areas.

Sources at OC admitted that the pace had been tardy till now. ‘‘But now, things are expected to go into top gear, as handover deadlines approach,’’ added a senior official.