INDIA: Now it's the Indians circling the Wagons

Stadiums in disrepair, but no one’s worried
R RamachandranPosted online: Monday, April 03, 2006 at 0000 hrs New Delhi Games Organising Committee secretary-general Lalit Bhanot says conscious decision not to have infrastructure ready before 2009, want the venues to look in prime condition when the Games begi
Nothing much has changed, in terms of sporting infrastructure, since the night New Delhi won the bid at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on August 13, 2003 to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The new stadia haven’t been built, the existing ones lie in the same state of disrepair. Yet there’s no sign of alarm at the New Delhi Games Organizing Committee (NDGOC): for them, everything is on schedule, there’s no need to press the panic button.

“It’s a conscious decision not to have the Games infrastructure ready before 2009,” says NDGOC secretary-general Lalit Bhanot. “We’re not thinking of merely 2010. We’re looking ahead and up to 2016 when we want to host the Olympics. In between, the Asian Games could come our way in 2014.”
So there’s no point, he adds, having the infrastructure ready early and then struggling to maintain the stadia. “We’d want the venues to look in prime condition before the Games after a trial Games (the previous year).”
There isn’t much new construction work; much of the work is in renovating stadia built for the 1982 Asiad. Towards that end, the organizing committee has appointed the Switzerland-based Events Knowledge Services (EKS), whose job will be to carry out a detailed study on designs of infrastructure, taking into consideration the various requirements of the CGF, the IOA and the government, and conforming to international standards.
Who will do the work? All government agencies are hoping to bag the orders. The Sports Authority of India, for one, may want the CPWD to undertake the job while the Delhi government would opt for PWD. And the DDA is always there to grab a bigger share of the cake.
The CPWD’s blueprint for renovation and upgrade of the existing five SAI stadia is ready. What it needs is just the go-ahead. The estimated expenses towards this would be Rs 1250 crore, minus the furnishing.
Is there enough time? People point to 1982—when everything happened in 20 months—as an example of how quickly things can be done if the right buttons are pressed.
National stadium:
• To be made spectator-friendly, playing turf to be moved closer
• Rear seating gallery to make way for changing rooms, medical rooms, offices
• Three new turfs, with floodlight facilities at two, including main arena
Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Yamuna Velodrome
• Stadium roof to be changed
• AC, lighting, audio-visual systems to be replaced
• New warm-up gym on the Lakeside
• On eastern side, a hostel and multi-media center will be set up.
• Cycling velodrome will be upgraded either with wooden tracks or concrete arena by to be upped 5 inches.
Nehru stadium
• Major upgrade for Games showpiece: from open-close roof (partial) with filament material to constructing a tunnel leading to players’ warm-up area
• New floodlights (with the pillars inside), audio/visual system to electronic scoreboard and partial AC
• All upper tiers will have bucket seats instead of existing concrete arrangement.
• Stadium will be linked with rail-road-metro system (Railway Ministry has been notified about this and it will have to undertake the job at its cost with a station close by).
Talkatora pool
• Existing pool will be renovated completely (with AC possible) and covered
• New pool for synchronised swimming to be constructed.
• But the pools will be used for training purposes only.
Karni singh shooting range
• A new 300-metre range and a Final Scoring System range—the finals of 10, 15 and 25 metres events will be held—will be constructed.
New construction minimum, but OKs still being awaited
The NDGOC says construction of new stadia will involve minimum work; most of the work is renovation. But in most cases, work may not begin before next year. For, the paperwork is not yet complete, in some cases even the blueprint isn’t ready.
In cases where paperwork’s through—for instance, five SAI stadia—the final okay will be given after international consultants EKS submits the designs.
Much of the work revolves around the swimming pool complex to be built in Delhi University at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore. Right now, it’s 22 acres of barren land. On this site will come up not one but five swimming pools: an Olympic-size (50 metres) pool, a diving pool, pool for synchronised swimming, one for water polo and a warm-up pool.
And for the okay, DU has to approach the HRD Ministry. But Dr Jitender Singh Naruka, DPE of DU Sports Council, says it is an advantage. “Unlike in most cases (revamping), we don’t have to demolish, redesign and reconstruct.” At DU, an initiative group—led by vice-chancellor Dr Deepak Pental, pro-VC Prof D.K. Tandon, Registrar Dr A.K. Dubey, Finance officer Roy Mathrani, DU engineer G.S. Gupta—is on the job with support coming from Sports Council chairman Abhay Mauriya, Naruka and Sudarshan Pathak.
Naruka was in Melbourne recently to observe and report back to DU on how to go about the work here.
Is there enough time on hand? Engineer Gupta believes so: “One and a half years is adequate to complete the project. But we might take about a year or so to plan everything with minutest details.”
DU is eyeing the spin-offs from the project. “We are also thinking of a 12,000-16,000 capacity indoor AC stadium, a gymnasium (UGC has already allotted a grant not under the Games plan) and an eight-lane synthetic track for athletics with another warm-up track (possible),”, says Naruka.
The other construction work is an indoor hall for boxing at the Tyagraja Sports Complex and a TT Hall at the Yamuna Sports Complex; each will seat 5-7,000 people. The paperwork is ready but approval and money sanction is awaited.