‘National Games authority responsible for ensuring quality’
Twenty-four hours after a portion of the roof of the grandstand pavilion of the Kozhikode Corporation Stadium collapsed injuring two construction workers, the civic body washed its hands off any liability while pinning the blame squarely on the National Games Authority and contractors.
On Friday, a portion of the roof of the second floor of the pavilion collapsed, for the second time this month. A chunk of the roof had fallen on November 14, injuring a worker. The stadium is one of the venues for the National Games scheduled to be held in the State in 2014.
In a signed public letter on Saturday, Mayor Prof. A.K. Premajam, who is facing fire for negligence in the construction, defended the civic body, saying it had no role in the work except for contributing 45 per cent of the construction expenses as per an agreement reached with the National Games Authority.
The National Games Secretariat had entrusted the city-based R.K. Ramesh for the supervision of the entire work. The construction work on the pavilion is estimated at Rs.19 crore.
“The work on the stadium grandstand pavilion was supposed to be completed in a time-bound manner without any lapses. We have time and again conveyed this to National Games Authority Chief Executive Officer Jacob Punnoose. We have already sent a letter in this regard,” the Mayor said.
She said that the responsibility of the work and its execution within the deadline rested solely on the National Games Secretariat. “But the contractors are not bothered. We have several times notified the secretariat about this. We had consulted Mr. Punnoose on this and the monitoring committee had given strict instructions to speed up the work. Agencies entrusted with supervising the contractors are not acting responsibly. The fact that the pavilion had collapsed twice before has caused great anxiety among the public and sports lovers here,” the Mayor said.
Prof. Premajam refused to take any liability for the quality of work, saying all the Corporation was responsible for was to give its share. “This is being complied with promptly. The National Games Authority is fully responsible for everything concerning the work being done,” she said.
Stating that the criticism in the media was unjustified, she said it was, more than anything, the corporation’s wish that the “E.M.S grandstand pavilion should be constructed in the best manner possible and within time.”
“Even the FIFA is aware that the Corporation stadium is one of the best in India. But the National Games Authority has failed to keep the required standards necessary for the construction of the pavilion. Even though the Games is near, the construction work is far from over. This is a serious issue and the civic body will convey the anxiety of the public to the State government,” she said, adding that a monitoring committee meeting on the issue would be held on December 4.
Over 60 workers were present at the site at the time of the accident. Slipping of the jack made of iron meant to support the roof is suspected to have caused the accident.