With the immaculate preparation and jaw dropping infrastructure that reflected years of attention to detail, the Beijing Olympics have set new standards not only for the Olympics, but also for the ‘Poor Man’s Olympics’, as the Commonwealth Games are often called. Delhi will host the upcoming Commonwealth Games in 2010, just a little over a year away. Although the government had made boastful promises of mighty infrastructure and arrangements, many of the projects haven’t even started, let alone finish.
The Central Public Works Department has been, appointed by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to shoulder the responsibility of these games.They are working towards the completion, rather beginning, of various infrastructural changes in the Games venues against the deadline of December 2009.
The venues being upgraded for the different games are: the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium and the SP Mukherjee Swimming Pool. Also in the list are Thyagaraja Stadium, Chhatrasal Stadium, Talkatora Stadium and Shivaji Stadium. Two indoor stadiums are being constructed at Yamuna Sports Complex and Siri Fort Sports Complex.
However, the authorities are working slowly and in a more or less relaxed manner. Most of the deadlines are between August to December, 2009, but a lot of work is still pending. The only sign of something happening is the sight of things falling apart- construction material strewn on the floor, sand in air and the sound of welding.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which will witness the opening and closing ceremonies of this prestigious event, is not in a good shape. Only 20% of the work in the main stadium, which will seat 66000 spectators, has been completed. Another 6% has been done in the 2500-capacity auditorium that will serve as the weightlifting venue.
The Indira Gandhi Stadium is slated have a seating capacity of 16000, and another 7500 in the weightlifting arena. Here too, about only 30% of the work has been finished, and the CPWD has set the safe deadline as March 2010 .
Only at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, things seem bright. Construction is on full swing, and the deadline for November 2009 will be easily met if the progress remains as it is.
One of the most delayed projects includes the SP Mukherjee Swimming Pool next to Talkatora Garden, the venue for the aquatics and diving competitions. Only 15% of the work has been done on the swimming venue, which will have a seating capacity of 5000. The work here has been delayed by 4 months.
These games that have seen the transformation of the sleepy industrial town of Yorkshire in England, into an urban city that now matches London, will witness the erection of over one lakh hotel rooms in the Capital. However, the question is whether the already congested capital will make space for these rooms and 8000 participants, has not been considered as yet.
The government and the SAI may have taken this project in high spirits, but that enthusiasm and energy is apparently lost in view of the poor development of these key venues. It remains to be seen how well India hosts these games, because India’s bid for the 2016 Olympics will depend crucially on the success of these ones.