A novel Games Village in the offing

A. Vinod
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A model of the Games Village.
A model of the Games Village.

The 35th National Games to be held in Kerala will have a novelty, as the National Games Secretariat (NGS) is exploring the possibility of constructing the Athletes Village for the Games using pre-fabrication technology.

It is the difficulties involved in constructing a Village using brick, mortar and the kiln model that has paved the way for the NGS to look out for an alternate option now that the dates of the Games have been tentatively set for February 2013.

The NGS had over the last two years been considering the construction of the Village at a site owned by the Kerala State Housing Board at Aakulam, within the city limits, but was unable to wrap up the deal owing to difficulties in obtaining clearance from the Air Force authorities as the proposed site fell within close range of the Southern Air Command Headquarters.

“Since then, we have been trying several options before we zeroed in on this new technology as proposed by PricewaterHouseCoopers, our consultants for the Greenfield stadium and the Games Village,” said the NGS CEO, Amit Mallick, to The Hindu on Wednesday.

Whereas the construction of the traditional Games Village was estimated to cost around Rs. 600 crore and a minimum of two years, the setting up of the Village using pre-fabrication housing technology could be cost effective and time-saving.

According to the current calculations of the NGS, the total time for construction of the Village utilising pre-fabrication technology would be only eight months at an approximated cost of Rs. 50 crore.

To gain first-hand knowledge about the new technology and its usage, a team led by the Secretary (Sports), M. Sivasankar had recently visited several institutions in India where pre-fabricated structures have been created.

Further to the low costs involved, the advantage of having a pre-fabricated Village would also ensure negligible running costs. Moreover, it could also be relocated to any other site with only 10 to 15 per cent cost for dismantling an existing structure and assembling it a second time.

With this in mind, the NGS has already approached the NGOC of the 36th National Games in Goa on whether it was willing to bear some of the costs involved in the construction of the Village utilising pre-fabrication technology so much so that it can be relocated in full to Goa once the 35th edition of the Games is completed here.

Even otherwise, Mr. Mallick said, the State itself could use the components of the Village to construct new school buildings, new blocks for hospitals, sports hostels or police camps once the Games are over. “We are working out on the various options now and a final decision would be taken once everything falls in place.”

Having agreed to go with the established protocol and observe the Games as a ‘Green Games', the new technology  could also come in as handy for the NGS as pre-fabricated housing is environment friendly, light weight, energy efficient and further provides adequate ventilation. Besides, it is also disaster resistant and completely custom-made as per specific requirements.

Housing made out of either the bison or PUF panels are expected to last 20 years while those out of Plastocrete could remain for a lifetime. “Thus the advantages are many, but we will be arriving at a final decision only after companies, who have now been asked to signal their expression of interest for the project, assemble a mock unit in Thiruvananthapuram during the first week of January next year and put it on display,” Mr. Mallick said.

Mr. Mallick said that the usage of the Village post-Games would also address a social problem. “Whereas regular apartments could be bought only by the upper middle class or the rich, the usage of the Village for common purposes would benefit the society at large.”

Sensing necessary clearance from the Government for the project, the NGS has already identified two sites within the proposed Technocity here for construction of the Village. Thiruvananthapuram as the major host city of the Games is expected to draw a little over 5,000 athletes for the multi-discipline event.

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