With less than seven months to go, the Commonwealth Games Federation is “concerned” with the slow pace of work at some Games venues in the Capital.
“A lot of work is still to be done,” said Federation president Michael Fennell during a chefs de mission seminar on Wednesday. The chefs de mission of 71 participating nations are in Delhi to look at security arrangements and other preparations.
Fennel said that though a lot of progress in construction of venues and other arrangements has taken place, they are still behind schedule. “A lot of construction is going on and work on the hockey stadium is finished, so the World Cup could be held there. But while it’s a fine venue, fixtures and other facilities are yet to be done,” he said.
What is really worrying the Federation, Fennell said, is the pace of work at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, which is the swimming venue, and at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium - the venue for weightlifting and for the opening and closing ceremonies. He said progress here has to be monitored carefully. “Work at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium should have been more advanced by now.”
“The construction of venues is not with the (Federation's) Organising Committee but with other agencies. We have interacted with them and they have ensured us work will be completed in time,” Fennell said.
“A lot remains to be done and we are not going to let up. We are going to assist the Organising Committee in delivering what has been assured.”
“We will meet the June 30 deadline and finish the stadium in all respect,” said Hardip Singh Kingra, joint secretary and special officer for the Commonwealth Games, Union Sports Ministry, which is building the Nehru stadium.
Officials of the Central Public Works Department, in charge of construction at Talkatora, refused to comment.
Fennel and the chefs de mission are satisfied with security and transport arrangements. “Security is high on the agenda and a major concern but I'm pleased with the progress and all participants can be at peace regarding security arrangements,” Fennell said.
He added independent consultants hired by the Federation to report on security arrangements had given positive feedback. On the Games village, Fennel said, “the buildings have excellent outline and concept and will be one of the best Games villages ever”.
However, he said work on temporary structures at the village was yet to be completed.
The chefs de mission, for their part, wanted assurances about the quality of food and drinks that will be provided during the Games.