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Work on National Games facilities on track

A. Vinod
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Water Works swimming pool will be renovated and a tennis and squash complex built

A graphic image of the proposed tennis complex at Medical College Higher Secondary School in the city.
A graphic image of the proposed tennis complex at Medical College Higher Secondary School in the city.

Sports activities in Thiruvananthapuram are all set to get a fillip as the decks have been cleared for the renovation of the Water Works swimming pool and the construction of a tennis and squash complex in the city as part of the 35t{+h}National Games to be held in the State in late 2013 or early 2014.

It was as part of developing the required infrastructure for the games that the Water Works swimming pool, one of the oldest pools in the country and constructed in 1962, was decommissioned three years ago. The initial plan was to renovate the existing pool and construct a second pool so that the aquatic events of the games could be held together in one venue.

However, the plan fell through owing to technical snags and the project virtually came to a standstill in 2010. But now, with a proposal of the National Games Secretariat (NGS) cleared by its executive, the old pool is to be renovated within the next 10 months at a cost of Rs.4.45 crore.

According to the current proposal, the width of the pool will be increased to 25 metres in accordance with international specifications, and work on a new diving stand taken up. The other works connected with the project include provision for separate changing rooms for men and women, new filter plant, and maintenance of the existing spectator galleries.

National Games Secretariat sources told The Hindu on Wednesday that the project work had been tendered and construction was expected to start by February next year.

Squash complex

The new squash complex, the first of its kind in the State, is to come up at the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium complex at a cost of Rs.3.86 crore.

It is expected to be completed by August 2013. The fully air-conditioned facility will have two singles and an equal number of doubles courts, changing rooms, and other such provisions.

The other major work being taken up by the NGS relates to the construction of a new tennis complex at Medical College Higher Secondary School at a cost of Rs.1.23 crore, excluding playing surfaces. The plan is to construct a main court and three side courts with synthetic surfaces, and an office complex, including changing rooms, using pre-fabricated technology.

Meanwhile, the lease deed between the NGS and the University of Kerala, though delayed owing to procedural wrangling, for the Rs.161-crore stadium coming up on the Karyavattom campus of the university was finally signed on Wednesday.

This ends uncertainty over the completion of the project – the first to be constructed on an annuity basis in the country – in time for the games.

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