Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nehru Stadium Needs Some More time for Completion

As the first day of the review meeting of the coordination commission (CoCom) with the organizing committee kicked off on Monday, sources admitted that the OC has a tough job ahead.

From venue operationalization to procurement details, the CoCom would be looking at a much-improved preparation schedule to the Commonwealth Games 2010 — a task that, sources say, could get a jolt with the delay in operations of some of the key venues, specially Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Said a senior official, ‘‘Though most of the venues are expected to be ready on schedule around March, the JN Stadium could get delayed beyond that.’’ This was also discussed at the annual general meeting held earlier this month, where it was revealed that JN Stadium may be handed over to the OC as late as May-June.

Incidentally, the stadium is the venue for not only the opening and closing ceremonies but is also the competitive venue for athletics and weightlifting.

Venue operationalization had been one of the major concerns of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) at the general assembly meeting held in October this year. At that time, CGF chief Mike Fennell had raised questions about the OC’s preparedness on this front, apart from other areas of concern like the lack of international experts for various functional areas as well as procurement for the Games. OC officials, however, claimed the concerns raised at that time had all been addressed in the intervening two months.

While Kalmadi said ‘‘considerable progress’’ had been made in all areas since the last CoCom visit in May, he cited advances made in the functioning of the OC with a more relevant workforce as well as the appointment of experts in various key functional areas as right steps. ‘‘Finances are under control, with revenue from sales of TV rights having already exceeded expectations,’’ Kalmadi added.

That the OC is expecting positive feedback from the review meeting is apparent as secretary, ministry of sports, Sindhushree Khullar, candidly admitted that constructive advice was expected from the CoCom. ‘‘A lot of time has been spent in explaining things instead of getting on with the task of ensuring the Games are conducted well. The level of monitoring the progress of the Games has gone up. Your (CoCom) advice will help us get on with it,’’ said Khullar.

CoCom members were tightlipped about the meeting, with Mike Hooper, CGF representative in India refusing to comment on how the presentations went. The CoCom is expected to present its report to Fennell later this week.