Deadline worry for Nehru stadium

Work on tunnel set to delay reconstruction

 The reconstruction process at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium is set to face further delays. AFP

The 150-metre-long tunnel, which will open up at the centre, has been designed to connect the two ends of the stadium. The tunnel will be used by the performers to enter the ground during the ceremonies.

Sports Minister M S Gill said a cultural committee, headed by Tamil film maker Bharat Bala, wanted the tunnel. The other members of the committee are film maker Shyam Benegal, lyricists Javed Akhtar and Prasoon Joshi. “We have to showcase the rich cultural diversity of India.

The prime minister and the cabinet want the opening and closing ceremonies to highlight Indian culture and architecture and for that we formed this committee. The committee suggested the construction of the tunnel,” Gill said Monday while reviewing the progress of work at the stadium.

The stadium, with a seating capacity of about 75,000, was built in 1982 when India hosted the Asian Games.

Gill said the overseas experts, working round the clock at the stadium, promised to make it a world class facility.

“The stadium is a complex work of engineering, involving high technology. Experts from Germany, Mexico, Switzerland and India are working to give it a shape. There is no doubt that it is going be a world class stadium and we shall be proud of it,” Gill said.

“We are trying to set an architectural landmark. I have had discussions with the engineers and officials here and I am satisfied with the way things are going.”
A senior engineer, associated with the stadium since the beginning of reconstruction, told IANS that the stadium can be completed only by March.

“First the deadline was December 31. Just a week ago we were told about the tunnel. It’s a new addition to the project. It will now take around 165 days more and we could hopefully be ready by March end.

The track can be laid only after the completion of the tunnel,” he said.
Gill said he has spoken to Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell and will meet him October 28 during the Queen’s Baton Relay in London.

Gill also visited the swimming pool at the Talkotara Sports Complex.
Gill said there was no reason why the disputes between CGF and Indian organisers could not be resolved amicably.

Gill said that he had separate discussions with Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Fennell on the issues.

“I had already said that it was a spat which should not have happened. Kalmadi and I had various meetings in the light of this controversy.

In a similar way, I also discussed the issue with Fennell and we were easy in our conversation, when he called from Jamaica.

“I will leave for London on October 28 to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay. The three of us will sit down there, discuss the issue and try to resolve it. There is nothing to be talked about much,” Gill said.

Gill said Fennell had raised concerns about the internal management of the Organising Committee and wants to strengthen it.
“There were certain issues which have been addressed. We have appointed Jarnail Singh as the new CEO of the Organising Committee and in the next 8 to 10 days, we will give them three more officials as asked by them.”
IANS

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