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CWG legacy in shambles

india Updated: Jul 13, 2011 00:49 IST
Shalabh Manocha
Shalabh Manocha
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

When India geared up to face Australia in the Commonwealth Games hockey final in October last, the spectators thronged a spick and span Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium which compared with the best in the world.

Though the hosts got drubbed 0-8 in the final, the standard of the stadium, which had already hosted a World Cup in February, gave fans hope of a lasting legacy - one that would spawn a sporting culture, especially in hockey, and bring more international events to Delhi.

But nine months on, the stadium, along with the hopes, is falling apart.

Problems galore
The main playing arena, which hosted the CWG hockey final, suffers from lack of maintenance and official apathy (see pictures). The corridor leading to the pitch is strewn with trash and rarely swept. The junk on the floor is an eyesore.

If that is not enough, the toilet on the same floor is worse than the public conveniences at overcrowded bus terminals and can easily put you off with the thick blanket of dirt and stains on the floor and fixtures.

The lift area too looks like a garbage dump with fittings and wires lying around.

And to make matters worse, there is seepage in the complex and walking through the water on the third floor is not what you expect in a world-class complex.

While it struggles on most counts, the gym on the second floor is the only well-maintained area and that's because it is used by the national-level players.

Official take: All is well
When contacted, Uma Dutta, the venue administrator, disagreed despite the evidence presented to him.

"There is no seepage or broken wiring boards. Some work is going on in the section where the setup for broadcasting was made and it is being removed. Rest everything is fine. Somebody has passed on wrong information about the venue," he said.

Such apathy is shocking, especially as it involves the taxpayers' money. The stadium was renovated at the start of 2010 just before the World Cup. While Rs113 crore was the estimated cost, the actual expense incurred on renovation was Rs263 crore. An additional Rs42 crore was spent on consultancy services that had not been budgeted earlier.