Preparing for Games, Delhi battles lack of coordination

By Rajeev Ranjan Dwivedi, IANS,

New Delhi : It is the biggest sporting event held in the country since the Asian Games in 1982, but lack of coordination among the various agencies involved is delaying the completion of the projects.

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Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta blames lack of coordination among various agencies – including the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Delhi’s Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Muncipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) – as the reason for delay in many projects, which have so far missed several deadlines.

“We completed all the street-scaping works near the I.G. (Indira Gandhi) stadium, but during inspection I saw that the area has been dug up by the CPWD. This means that there is a problem of coordination among various agencies,” he said.

Though the organising committee is confident of putting up a good show for the Games for which Rs.11,894 crore (around Rs.119 billion/over $2.5 billion) has been allocated by the government, questions are being raised about delays in the completion of games projects, cost overruns and deals that have attracted adverse media attention.

While the PWD is engaged in the upgradation of the city’s infrastructure for the Games, the MCD is working to upgrade parking facilities besides improving basic facilities for the visitors.

The CPWD was tasked with building Games venues as well as renovating major central government ministries and buildings like India Gate, North Block and South Block.

The DDA has contracted the construction of the Games Village in east Delhi near Akshardham Temple to private builder Emaar-MGF. It is also building other Games-related residential complexes in the city.

According to officials, a few days ago, after landscaping was done within the Thyagraj Stadium complex, private power discom BSES dug up the area for its cabling work.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has long rued the “multiplicity of authorities”, saying this had delayed the start of the Games projects as well as put obstacles in their timely completion. Dikshit holds a weekly meeting of officials from various departments to iron out differences among them.

A group of central ministers has also been set up to supervise the works related to the mega-event.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna recently chaired a meeting of officials, including Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar and Mehta, to hammer a way out of the problems faced. The next meeting by Khanna is on Aug 17.

Giving an example of lack of coordination among agencies, Mehta said a private firm was asked to clear the debris from roads in a bid to meet the deadline of Aug 10 after it came to light that the MCD was dumping garbage and debris on NDMC land.

Also, the PWD used to dump debris on MCD roads and vice-versa, he added.

PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan told IANS that coordination had remained a problem for his department when it was battling against all odds to meet the deadlines.

“At some places, we were provided the land at the last minute while at some other, the Railways delayed the handing over of the work,” he said.

The Games will feature 17 disciplines to be held at six venue clusters and five stand-alone stadia in the metropolis of 17 million people, one of the most crowded in the world. The sale of tickets started in June and 1.7 million tickets are expected to be sold before the Games begin.

(Rajeev Ranjan Dwivedi can be contacted at [email protected])