Gill, Reddy downplay concerns over stadiums

August 1st, 2010 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Dehi, Aug 1 (IANS) Sports Minister M.S. Gill and Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, who heads the Group of Ministers overseeing the preparations for the Commonwealth Games, Sunday downplayed concerns related to the stadiums being constructed or renovated for the Oct 3-14 mega event.
Saying there are no flaws in the structures, Gill has directed officers to oversee any problems and rectify them.

Reddy, who inaugurated the weightlifting venue inside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium complex Sunday, said they welcome the criticism coming their way but sometimes this was “exaggerated”.

Explaining the status of stadiums constructed by his ministry through the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Gill said these all are complex state-of-the-art structures with high levels of structural design.

He said CPWD and Sport Authority of India (SAI) officials have been asked to depute a senior officer each in all the stadiums to look out for any faults and rectify them.

“Nothing will be left unattended. We have directed them to post responsible officers till the Games. They will re-check everything and do whatever has to be done,” Gill said.

Even as Gill spoke, rain water trickled down from the dome shaped ceiling of the weightlifting venue, built at a cost of $800 million.

“There is no serious flaw in the roof or in the design of any of the stadiums. These are complex engineering structures. But we are answerable and open to any criticism. If there is anything sub-standard used for the stadiums, we will replace it,” Gill said.

In the last couple of weeks, doubts have surfaced over the quality of the stadiums. A section of the false ceiling at the Yamuna Sports Complex, scheduled to hold the table tennis event of the Commonwealth Games, collapsed after heavy rains.

There were also problems at the S.P Mukherjee Swimming Complex, which hosted a test event last week, as a part of the false ceiling was broken and a swimmer was hurt after a cover on the water drainage system around the swimming pool came off. The vice president of world swimming federation (FINA), Sam Ramsamy, who was here for the test event, has expressed his concern, calling the work “shoddy”.

The government agencies have drawn a lot of flak for rushing through their work at the last minute which has left many loopholes in the structures. There is debris and construction material lying outside almost every facility.

“I agree that there is debris around the Nehru Stadium, but it the track which is important,” Gill said.

“Delhi has taken this opportunity to host the Games and it should be in the forefront in the 21st century because India has spent lavishly.”

Reddy said the Group of Ministers meets every week and looks at every aspect of the Games.

“I welcome the criticism but at times people exaggerate small issues. I appeal to the media to point out facts and shortcomings so that these can be set right. There is nothing to worry about,” he said.

“This is the last lap of the race. These are inevitable problems and were faced even during the Beijing Olympics. We must not underplay our achievements.”

About the venue, Reddy said: “This is not only for weightlifting. This is the largest auditorium in Delhi and we can have other events here as well. The money spent for CWG is not meant for the Games alone. The stadiums can be used later.”

The auditorium, with a seating capacity of more than 2,100, will be used as a convention center cum opera house during the legacy period.

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