The 35 National Games is hardly eight months away. But, going by the pace of construction and other preparatory groundwork, it remains to be seen whether some of the venues in Kozhikode would be ready by then.
On a visit to the Medical College grounds where a new football stadium is being prepared with a synthetic track, one is greeted by a box-like structure, adjacent to a ground with wild plants. The box structure is the stadium complex. It has drawn criticism from the district-level monitoring committee of the games for its design flaws and lack of aesthetics.
One of the major design errors is with the drain that runs parallel to the synthetic track over its entire span. The redesigning and rework of the drains have now been tendered after the flaw was detected.
The proposed dormitory on the top floor was first constructed without any entry points. After the flaw was pointed out, parts of the finished structure were demolished to accommodate pre-fabricated iron steps connecting the dormitory to the floor below.
“There has been a complete lack of imagination in every aspect of the stadium work at the medical college. The design errors itself have contributed to the schedule lag. Beside the design flaws, the structure is aesthetically an eyesore. This is an irresponsible way of handling public funds. We have taken the opinion of few other architects and suggested some face-lifting measures, including landscaping and surface-level changes in the gallery,” said MLA A. Pradeep Kumar, chairperson of the district-level monitoring committee.
The hilly area surrounding the stadium, which could have been converted into a natural gallery with simple landscaping, has also been neglected. The stadium complex comprising residential facilities for 200 players, a health club with modern facilities, VIP lounge, dressing room and a media centre is estimated to cost Rs.15 crore. Work on the same was inaugurated in August 2010, with a stipulated completion time of 7 months. Though work on the turf is relatively less time-consuming, it still is quite a task considering the current state of the uneven surface encroached by weeds and shrubs.
“We are well on schedule and most of our work has now been finished. The design changes suggested by the committee have been accommodated,” said Sathish Kumar, CEO of Gryphons India Constructions, which has been contracted to carry out the work on the complex. The design was carried out by Bombay-based Consulting Engineering Services (CES) Ltd.
The work at the other venues is also tardy. The Corporation stadium, the co-host of the football matches along with the Medical College stadium, is in disarray owing to the work on a new grandstand pavilion.
Though the old pavilion was demolished way back in 2010, work on the new one (with a budget of Rs.19 crore) did not start until December 2012. Four months down the line, the progress is less than 10 per cent.
The V.K. Krishna Menon indoor stadium where the volleyball matches will take place is in a comparatively better state though with the renovation works not much behind schedule.
The infrastructure at the stadiums will be a major challenge for the organisers as the works are supposed to be complete by October, three months before the scheduled start of the games. With the monsoons set to arrive in a month’s time, the cup of woes will certainly overflow.