The problems he faced during the Commonwealth Games (CWG) due to the lack a proper parking facility at the National Stadium is still fresh in the mind of Pankaj Chaddah, an avid hockey fan from Gurgaon.
“When I reached the venue to see India’s match, I was told there was no parking,” said Chaddah. “I had to park my vehicle some 2km away and by the time I came back, the match had already started.”
Hockey fans will find themselves in a similar situation when they turn up to witness the Olympic Qualifier Tournament, in both men and women category, at the National Stadium from February 18 to 26.
This despite the fact that the stadium was renovated for the CWG at a cost over of Rs 200 crore, and has a huge, unused basement parking that can accommodate over 700 vehicles.
The parking will continue to stay out of bounds this time too, as it has been for the last three international events, including the 2010 World Cup.
The parking is lying unused because the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has not given the green signal to Hockey India (HI) to use the facility. Currently, the basement is dumped with overlays used during the CWG.
Hockey India (HI) is making an alternative parking arrangement for spectators, but the fans are angry. “Why was so much public money spent on it if we can’t use the parking,” asked a Delhi hockey player.
The CPWD, the agency that renovated the stadium, and SAI have different takes on the unused facility. CPWD director general CS Prasad said it was constructed for the convenience of spectators during mega events. “Why it is not being used is something SAI can say,” he said.
SAI secretary Gopal Krishna, on the other hand, said the parking was out of bounds due to security reasons.