Over a 100 schools had made reservations in April but school authorities have been told that the stadium will not be available on rent until September as renovations are still underway

Several schools that booked the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for their annual sports day celebrations were left in the lurch after stadium officials cancelled reservations without prior announcement.

Over a 100 schools had made reservations in April. Earlier this week, school authorities were told the stadium would not be available on rent until September as renovations were still underway.

Regina Stephen, P.T. instructor at C.S.I. Ewart School, said, “We had booked the stadium for July 20. The stadium officials had promised us it would be ready by June and there would be no problems. Since the inter-State athletic meet was held in June, we assumed everything was fine. With less than a month left for the event, we are unable to find another place at such short notice.”

There are few venues in the city where sports events can be hosted on a large scale. The vice-principal of a girls’ school in the city said she had to make alternate arrangements in the last minute.

“Rajarathinam stadium would have been our next choice, but that too is being renovated. The railway ground officials told us they rented out only to railway schools. The ICF grounds are available, but they do not have adequate facilities, and with girl students, safety is a priority. YMCA in Nandanam is another option, but so close to the date, availability is in question,” she said.

However, stadium officials said they had not misled the schools. “We did not take any advance payment. We expected the renovation to be completed by June. We are in the process of informing the schools by telephone. Work on the toilets, false ceiling and drainage system for the synthetic track is yet to be completed, apart from turf levelling,” said a representative.

The inter-State athletic meet held in June was a test event, and did not indicate the stadium was ready for use, he said.