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Bailout delay brings Games work to a halt

Bailout delay brings Games work to a halt

delhi Updated: Apr 02, 2009 01:47 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta

The Commonwealth Games is just 549 days away and failure on the part of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) expedite a financial bailout package for the project developers has severely crippled work at the Games Village.

Emaar-MGF, the project developers, had written to the DDA in December that they had run into financial trouble following economic slowdown and failure to get bookings for its flats. It had asked the DDA for monetary assistance. Five months later, the DDA is yet to finalise a bailout package.

Officials involved with the project fear that bureaucratic red-tapism may jeopardise the entire project.

The developers had in a letter to the DDA said they would need an additional Rs 1000 crore to complete the Games Village. Coming up along NH-24, the village will accommodate 8,500 athletes and delegates expected to participate in the games. The developers have already spent Rs 1400 crore on the project.

Work at the site has slowed down. Only 42 per cent work was completed till March 31 as against the target of 47 per cent. Even the number of construction workers at the site has reduced. “In October last year, there were approximately 5,500 labourers working at the site. This number has now come down to 1000,” said an official.

This despite the fact that Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna at a meeting on March 13 had directed the DDA to make an interim payment of Rs 100 crore to the developers till a final bail out policy was finalised. But the DDA failed to deliver on the grounds that making an interim payment was not feasible. “The idea was that the interim package would expedite work for the time being,” said an official involved with the project.

Emaar-MGF spokesperson said, “We have discussed funding options with the DDA and are waiting for a final decision.”

Under the bailout package the DDA is working on, it will buy part of the developer’s share of flats. On March 21, a four-member valuation committee was formed to evaluate the actual cost of the flats.

The committee was to submit its report within a week. “Till the report is not submitted we can’t finalise the amount to be given to the developers,” said an official.