Showpiece Delhi stadium lies unused as ground ‘sinks’ after track relaying project

FOR virtually 4 years now, the long-lasting Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium right here — listed as one in all India’s 5 Class 1 services by World Athletics — hasn’t hosted any track-and-field occasion. The explanation: “sinking” of the bottom after a botched-up observe relaying undertaking.

The undertaking, for which the Sports activities Authority of India (SAI) had earmarked Rs 6.50 crore, started in the summertime of 2019 and was anticipated to be accomplished by 2021. It was handed to WAPCOS [Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited], a public sector enterprise below the Ministry of Jal Shakti. However, when the undertaking was nearing completion in 2021, a piece of the 400 metre observe over an underground tunnel began caving in.

The tunnel was constructed throughout the 2010 Commonwealth Video games, and used for the opening and shutting ceremonies.

The difficulty, in reality, was amongst a number of deficiencies flagged by an Athletics Federation of India (AFI) crew, which had first visited the positioning in December 2020 on SAI’s request. “Fill the ditch on the entrance of the VIP gate for the observe which created a niche within the underground tunnel,” stated the AFI report, seen by The Indian Express.

An AFI official stated they have been consulted solely after the preliminary relaying of observe was virtually over. “We instantly seen waves on the observe and knowledgeable WAPCOS, however they brushed it off saying it’s nothing. However a number of months later, after incessant rainfall, the observe began sinking,” stated the AFI official.

Responding to a textual content message from The Indian Categorical, Rajni Kant Agrawal, chairman and managing director of WAPCOS, texted again saying: “On this regard you might be requested to contact SAI.”

When contacted, SAI, in its assertion to The Indian Categorical, stated: “The laying of the observe was began in 2019 and the work was undertaken by WAPCOS, a central authorities endeavor. The work was progressing at good pace and by 2021 round 95 per cent of the work was accomplished. Nonetheless, at the moment it was discovered that as a consequence of extreme rain water seepage into the bottom and due to the presence of an underground tunnel throughout the stadium, under the observe, the below building observe was sinking”.

“Subsequently, it was determined to droop the continued work and CPWD, answerable for the general upkeep of JLN stadium, was requested to determine the explanation for the bottom sinking. CPWD in flip has approached IIT Guwahati for an in depth analysis on the difficulty. The outcomes of the analysis are anticipated quickly and work will resume relying on the discovering,” it stated.

“SAI has sanctioned Rs 53 lakh for the analysis and Rs 6.50 crore has been sanctioned to WAPCOS for the observe,” it stated.

Admitting that “the final athletics occasion held on the observe was earlier than the renovation work started in 2019”, SAI stated “the Athletics Nationals held final 12 months was held within the warm-up space of JLN because the Athletics Federation selected that venue for the competitors”.

“They need to have consulted us earlier than starting the work. Throughout our first go to, we discovered a number of points other than the observe. The floor of the lengthy soar pits was uneven, the throwing circles weren’t proper, and the bottom of the steeplechase pit wanted to be modified. We flagged the tunnel problem lengthy again and I don’t perceive why you want an professional panel from IIT to inform you a similar factor,” stated the AFI official.

With the turf-relaying undertaking nowhere close to completion, the nation’s premier venue, that hosted the 1982 Asian Video games, will proceed to be under-utilised. A night at JLN explains how unused infrastructure impacts the coaching of a number of elite athletes.

A 5m patch has been dug up on the 250m mark on the 400m observe exposing the concrete construction under, the leaping pits have grow to be resting locations for canine, the carpet space across the observe is in shambles, and the throwing space is much from prepared. The pole vault set-up has been lacking since 2020.

This has compelled athletes, together with worldwide medallists, to coach on the worn-out, crowded observe observe outdoors the principle stadium. A whole bunch of athletes practice concurrently on a observe that’s gone its use-by date.

“Not having good services for coaching can spoil the way forward for younger athletes. For each athlete, the aim is to coach arduous and carry out properly in order that they get chosen for the nationwide camp. But when the services are usually not good, they can not carry out properly,” Bahadur Prasad, who held the 5000m nationwide file for 3 a long time till Avinash Sable broke it this 12 months, instructed The Indian Categorical.

A junior Asian Championships medallist stated that his observe has been hit adversely and it is extremely troublesome to combat for house within the cramped observe space. “See the state of the observe observe your self, the within lanes are utterly worn out. We now have 4 or 5 barely usable lanes that we have now to share with a whole lot of athletes,” the junior champion stated.

For Arjuna awardee Bahadur Prasad, who additionally held the 1500m nationwide file for 23 years till it was damaged by Jinson Johnson in 2018, JLN has a particular place in his coronary heart. He educated and attended nationwide camps on the facility on quite a few events between 1989 and 1998.

“Throughout my profession, all preparatory camps earlier than worldwide meets have been held at JLN and we may practice at each tracks. It’s a premier facility and plenty of authorities agency-employed athletes additionally practice right here. I don’t know why there was such a delay but it surely must be sorted out on precedence. If price range is the difficulty, enhance it. The authorities ought to simply deal with getting the observe prepared as quickly as doable,” stated the two-time Olympian.

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