Strange things happen in Indian sport. It’s been almost eight months since Sports Minister MS Gill inaugurated the hockey astroturf at NIS Patiala, but till date no competition or practice match has taken place.
The turf, inaugurated in January, is not yet ready for use. Interestingly, soon after the inauguration, the sprinkler system — used to keep the surface wet — has not been functioning. Besides, a lot of other snags have surfaced and the CPWD — the agency entrusted the task of laying the surface — is unable to rectify them.
Within weeks of the inauguration, the underground water pipes burst. “Generally, we use metal pipes for underground connections, but the CPWD used PVC pipes. So, whenever we operate the sprinklers, the pipes burst at different places,” said a SAI official.
Then, to repair the pipes, the contractor had to dig up the area on the periphery of the turf to ascertain the leakages,” he said.
The turf was to be handed over to SAI in August last year, but till date the transfer hasn’t taken place. “At that time, the CPWD said the turf was ready, and with the minister coming to inaugurate the girls hostel, it was decided to inaugurate the turf as well. But later on, snags developed and we asked the CPWD to repair them first before handing it over to us. The SAI has not yet officially taken over the turf,” he said.
The SAI executive director, L.S. Ranawat, was unavailable for comments. HT is in possession of letters written by SAI to CPWD for the repair the sprinkler system. Letters written by Ranawat on March 18 and June 26 clearly ask the CPWD (Chandigarh Circle) to repair the system.
Ditto for the athletics track
In July 2007, the CPWD was given the task of laying a synthetic athletic track at the venue but over two years have passed and SAI is still waiting to handover. The work was completed a couple of months back but it has yet to be certified by the international body. Normally, the laying of track and preparing the base takes no more than six-seven months. It’s already taken more than two years.
So much for CPWD’s efficiency!