Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sport Venues are Not Ready

It’s hard to believe that the Yamuna Sports Complex (YSC) in Vivek Vihar, the main competition venue for table tennis and archery, is ‘‘99% complete’’. Work is still going in the main stadium. Pipes lie along the corners perhaps a result of the repair work on the roof after the false ceiling collapsed on July 13 and tiles are strewn all over the places.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) however, maintains that the complex is ready to be handed over to the Organizing Committee (OC) on August 1.

That there’s a wide gap between the DDA’s claims and the ground reality can be easily ascertained as one walks down the complex. Security is tight members of the complex are the only ones allowed in for morning walks and even these are frisked to ensure they don’t have cameras. Entry of media is strictly banned. The extreme caution seems understandable when you see the huge amount of work that still needs to be completed at the complex. Ironically, the Yamuna Sports Complex was inaugurated way back in March by the urban development minister.

Insiders say the biggest obstacle in the preparation has been the installation of the roof over the main stadium. Designed according to international norms, the roof, material for which has been imported, has been posing an architectural puzzle to DDA engineers since the beginning. That the puzzle hasn’t been successfully solved was made apparent earlier in July, when accumulation of rainwater led to a large section of the false ceiling collapsing. Repair work is still underway, with engineers putting in a restructured system for pipes on the roof for proper drainage.

‘‘Earlier, the drainage pipes were laid in the middle. Now, these have been positioned along the sides. Drainage ducts in corners have also been factored in,’’ says an official at the site. Interestingly, the expensive wooden flooring, which has been installed as part of the FOP (field of play) has been left exposed precariously to weather the ongoing construction work.

Outside, the scene is no better. Like the other Commonwealth Games venues, landscaping seems a distant dream, with mounds of dug up earth and rubble all over the place.

The worst is the site for the swimming pool a training venue for athletes. DDA officials admit this will not be complete before mid-August. Metal pipes, parts of broken down walls, bricks and other malba litter the entry to the stadium. DDA’s plan to implement a proper pedestrian pathway seems ambitious at this point in time. Meanwhile, seepage can be seen along many areas of the complex, raising questions about the quality of the work here.

With little time left for OC to begin its overlay work, YSC may be the most difficult venue to start work from, admit sources. ‘‘A large part of the overlay work uses soft overlays, which will be completely destroyed if the sites don’t become ready fast,’’ says an OC official. DDA however, insists everything is on schedule. ‘‘The venue will be ready on time. We just need to complete the peripheral work,’’ says a senior DDA official. Actual picture is, of course, quite different.


Venue for | Table tennis and archery

Cost Rs 25 crore

Seating capacity 3,500

Built over 4.8 hectares

The complex has been consistently missing deadlines. Previous deadlines were Dec ’09, March ’09 10 and June 2010. Now the work needs to be finished before August 2010

Portion of false ceiling at the table tennis stadium, which is being built according to a specialized international design, collapsed on July 13 after heavy rains

The collapse set back the work by a month DDA has spent Rs 79.20 crore on security at the sports complexes, evident at YSC which is heavily guarded YSC was originally built in 1989