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Games Village sports complex to open to public

By Bharat Sharma, IANS,

New Delhi: The Sports Complex at the sprawling Commonwealth Games Village in East Delhi will be thrown open to the public under the pay-and-play scheme by the end of November even as the 1,168 flats there wait for a completion certificate and new owners.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has complete control over the 21-acre Sports Complex in the Games Village, though the flats there lie unused since the mega event last October.

“The sports facilities inside the Village will be fortified into a full-fledged complex very soon,” DDA spokesperson Nimo Dhar told IANS.

The complex will offer schemes in swimming, table tennis, football, cricket, badminton, basketball and volleyball. The state-of-the-art spa built for the Games will be operational for the general public, making it the second complex in the capital to have the facility after the Vasant Kunj DDA Sports Complex.

“There will not be any membership to start with. We will open the complex to the public under the pay-and-play scheme,” a top DDA official told IANS.

The expensive equipment bought for the Games has been rotting for the past one year and since the area is under DDA control, it could have straightaway started the Sports Complex. The sports ministry launched the Come-and-Play scheme in five of the Games venues in May.

Asked about the delay, the DDA official said the Organising Committee took its own time in clearing the kitchen equipment from the Village. Till that was done the work on the complex could not have started.

The kitchen, with most of the equipment bought from London, is estimated to have cost about Rs.16.75 crore, but there were no takers for it after the Games. Eventually, the railways has agreed to take it and use it for modernising its base kitchen.

“Segregation and cordoning off of each facility in the Village is being done. The Organising Committee removed the kitchen equipment from there only a month ago. Then you have to assign administrators to man each sports discipline. That has been done and the staff and the security personnel will be deployed by November,” he said.

Unlike the sports ministry initiative at other CWG venues, the complex will not have any coaches to train the youngsters.

One of the reasons the Games were brought to Delhi was to create a sports culture, but the DDA official was categorical in stating that their job was only to provide infrastructure.

“We are not here to promote sports. We are here to provide sports facilities to the people. Anyone who wants to play can enrol himself but we have not thought about training facilities.”

The official said the facility will be available to the public at an affordable fee.

(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])