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Facelift gives way to ugly realities

When the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium underwent a massive facelift, at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, there was hope that the Capital would witness many more track and field events after the Commonwealth Games. Navneet Singh reports.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2011 01:10 IST
Navneet Singh

When the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium underwent a massive facelift, at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, there was hope that the Capital would witness many more track and field events after the Commonwealth Games.

Down the line, the hope lies unfulfilled. Reason: The Games' opening and closing took a heavy toll on the main track. The movement of heavy vehicles left it uneven and thus, unsuitable for training and competition.

It’s taken the Sports Authority of India (SAI) nine months to take charge of the main track area from the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the agency responsible for laying the surface and, subsequently, carrying out the repairs.

“We’ve got the go-ahead from the CPWD that competition can be conducted,” stadium administrator, Satyajit Sanskrit, told HT on Thursday. But till a top-level competition is conducted, fingers will remain crossed.

Facelift to no avail

Despite a drive to clean the stadium, pockets of dirt stand out. “The process is on, but it’s a huge area,” said Sanskrit.

Like the athletics track, the indoor weightlifting hall, which is within the stadium complex, is waiting for a competitive event. Though the blueprint for its utilisation is almost ready, the future looks bleak.

The lawn bowls arena too is crying for attention. Constructed at a cost of R10 crore, the artificial turf is gathering dust that might render it unusable for competitions in future.

Ray of hope

The stadium's warm-up ground appears to be the lone bright spot. Under the 'come and play' scheme, which commenced in June, the area is frequented by budding athletes, footballers and volleyball players.

The numbers are encouraging — 1155 athletes, 1900 footballers, 600 spikers and 119 lifters.