Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LG Set Ultimatum for the Project Work

Barely three months to go and government officials still seem to be grappling with delivery schedules of the Commonwealth Games venues.

The latest is the Games Village near Akshardham temple. According to sources, a tug-of-war between Emaar MGF, the builders and Ahluwalia constructions, Emaar’s sub-contractor, on payment issues had escalated to such an extent last month that the LG’s office had to step in. Said a senior official, ‘‘There were complaints of delayed payment, which led to a slowdown in the work. The LG, Tejendra Khanna, had to step in and lay down an ultimatum for the project before work was resumed.’’ Sources say the workforce at the Village site had dropped drastically, as a result of which, only nine towers of the 34 constructed were handed over to Delhi Development Authority (DDA) by mid-June. ‘‘The contractor was told to expedite the matter or legal proceedings would be initiated. After all, it’s a project of national importance,’’ added the source.

The effect of the ultimatum was visible on Tuesday when Khanna went on a site visit. The spot where the laborers had been living in temporary shelters had been cleared even as the construction debris was no longer strewn across the site. Confirmed Ranjan Mukherjee, OSD to the LG, ‘‘The LG has already set another deadline for plantation work to be started in the Village, as the monsoon has arrived. DDA has been asked to start the work by July 20.’’ Interestingly, in the fortnight since the builder and contractor were hauled up, another eight towers have been handed over to DDA. Said Khanna, ‘‘I’m satisfied with the work. The Village will be handed over by August 1.’’ According to officials, as per the agreement with Emaar, the towers are to be completed with a second coat of paint before they can be handed over. At present, DDA is also simultaneously furnishing the flats.

It’s not the first time that payment issues have led to slowdown in work at the Commonwealth Games Village. Earlier in 2008, non-payment of dues by Emaar MGF to its sub-contractor, Ahluwalia constructions, had led to a complete stop in work as the labour force was withdrawn. DDA had to ultimately bail out Emaar with a substantial financial package before work could be resumed.

The LG also visited the Yamuna Sports Complex where the table tennis stadium is being built. The complex will be handed over later this month, officials informed. While construction is almost complete, it’s the lack of landscaping at the site that is responsible for the delay in handing over, added officials.