Games shocker: Brand-new stadiums are falling apart

Sinking ranges, flooded warm-up zones, leaking ceilings, burst water-pipes and seepage everywhere. These are features of some of the brand-new Commonwealth Games venues — the places that will showcase India before the world.

With just about 75 days to go for the Games’s opening ceremony on October 3, the full-bore shooting range at Kadarpur in Gurgaon, an official Games venue, has “collapsed”.

Inaugurated two months ago by Sports Minister MS Gill, the range even hosted a test event for the Games but has now self-destructed after the rains in the first week of July.

On July 8, CRPF DIG and Manager (sports), MC Panwar (the Range is built on CRPF land) wrote a desperate letter to top Sports Ministry officials. Hindustan Times has a copy.

"Due to the incessant rains on the night of July 4 and 7,” reads the letter, “the various embankments on the range (which will host two medal events during the Games), have collapsed and extensive damages (sic) have been caused. The grassy expanse of lawn overhead the first box culvert has been washed away along with the side foot-tracks.”
The bad news doesn’t end here. The “all-weather road” (as the letter puts it) obviously wasn’t fit for all kinds of weather. The letter continues: “…the all-weather road near culvert No. 2 is about to collapse as all the underlying sand fillings have been washed away. There are visible landslides on either side of the remaining box culverts.”
“The chain-linked fences have come down at various places and its footings (sic) are hanging free in the air. The windowpanes of the facility block are leaking badly. The CPWD (Elect) has made numerous holes on the rooftop for split ACs resulting in seepage inside and damage to the false ceiling,” the letter adds.

Former CRPF DIG and sports manager, TS Dhillon, on whose recommendation the range was built inside the CRPF complex, was unavailable for comment. He designed the range.

Rahul Bhatnagar, one of the two joint secretaries in charge of the Games, told HT that they had "referred the issue to the Central Public Works Department". "There is no structural damage to the big culverts built underground, for rainwater to pass through without damaging the range. The mud has settled on the range," said Bhatnagar.

What makes the situation even more embarrassing is that this is just one more in a long list of shortcomings of the proposed Games venues.
The "new" Dr SP Mukherjee Swimming Complex was inaugurated on Sunday despite the fact that parts of the complex are far from complete. Even as the inauguration was on, a water pipe malfunction sprayed water all around. Crucial aspects of the competing/non-competing areas like lap timers, wall plaster etc were either missing or already in dilapidated condition.

Or take the Talkatora Boxing Stadium. The holding and warm-up boxing areas, located in the basement, have major seepage problems --- no one obviously factored the rains into any construction design. There was some flooding inside because of leakage while outside, there was more than a foot of water all around.

This all comes soon after the Yamuna Sports Complex episode, where the false ceiling collapsed and the wooden flooring got damaged because of waterlogging. Both will now have to be replaced.


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