Last year, the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Regional Centre at Joshi Chauhan got a new synthetic hockey turf at an estimated cost of Rs 2.4 crore. It’s largely been unused though because of problems.
On Sunday, when Sports Minister MS Gill inaugurates the turf, it is unlikely he would know of them. SAI though is aware it hasn’t been laid according to specification. AK Sharma, the director-in-charge, said on Friday: “There where problems but most of them had been rectified.”
The turf was laid by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and SAI took charge in March 2009 reportedly under “pressure from high ups” and on the assurance that the problems it listed would be rectified.
“The CPWD laid the pitch. There are ripples on the surface and threads have started coming loose. Even the bounce is uneven and the sprinkler system is ineffective,” a senior SAI official said on condition of anonymity.
At least five hockey coaches — Harphull Singh, Mohan Singh, Gautam, Nisha Sharma, Gyanendra Singh — appointed by SAI to inspect the turf have found defects. “The cushion below the turf is too thin. If the height of cushion is reduced by 1mm, it saves the contractor lakhs of rupees,” said one of the coaches.
An official from the turf company (Polygrass) also said: “The cushion shock pad laid between the base and turf is not symmetrical. At some places it is of 5mm thickness while at others it is 10mm.”
To that, the CPWD official, based in Karnal, reacted, saying: “We laid the turf as per the specifications and it was checked by an FIH-approved agency. Still, if there is a problem, the manufacturer will get it repaired.”