By Rajeev Ranjan Dwivedi
New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS): Work on a practice stadium and some city infrastructure projects associated with New Delhi's preparation for the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games are set to miss the final Aug 31 deadline for completion, officials have admitted.
These include very visible work on roads, streetscaping and parking facilities.
As per the latest status report sent to the central government, a copy of which is available with IANS, four stadiums funded by the Delhi administration - the Thyagraja (netball), Chhatrasal (track and field training), Talkatora (boxing) and Ludlow Castle (wrestling training) - have been completed.
But 28 percent of the work at Shivaji Stadium (meant for hockey practice) is still to be done with just 37 days to go for the Games.
The Delhi government has already missed several deadlines for completion of Games projects, but Aug 31 was fixed as the "final" date. The month of September was to be for finishing touches.
But a Delhi government official now says projects will be ready by the middle of September.
"The deadline has not been an issue. We have put in more labour and work is going on round the clock. We are confident of completing all projects, including finishing touches, by Sep 15," the official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, told IANS.
He also said that incessant rains in the capital had further delayed the completion of these projects.
Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, who heads the Group of Ministers on the Games, Thursday night admitted that the rains have delayed project completion and acknowledged that the Aug 31 deadline is likely to be extended.
"The rains have caused some problems. It may get delayed by a couple of days, but not weeks at all," Reddy said.
Work on the four-kilometre Barapullah elevated road is still seven percent incomplete. It is meant to carry athletes and delegates from the Games Village in east Delhi directly to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in south Delhi. Officials claim the road may open in the first week of September.
There is also a delay in streetscaping work, which according to the Public Works Department (PWD), is only 60 percent complete.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) are far ahead of the Delhi government's agency, PWD, when it comes to streetscaping projects. The MCD has completed around 80 percent work so far and the NDMC is left with 10 percent of the work.
On the positive side, the report says, the transport infrastructure for the Games has been put in place. The report mentions that 574 low-floor air-conditioned buses for the Games family have been procured.
Patting its own back, the Delhi government also says the costs have been kept well within the estimates.
The bus parking opposite Millennium Park in north Delhi - to transport athletes and delegates as well as spectators to Games venues - is almost 70 percent complete, the report says.
Similar bus parking at Rajghat on the arterial Ring Road is only half complete. Work on the Safdarjung Airport park and ride facility is about six percent left.
However, several other projects by the PWD on improvement of the city's infrastructure are about to miss the deadline.
These includes road widening projects that are about 80 percent complete while almost 90 percent of the road strengthening and resurfacing is done and will get over only in September. The NDMC is left with 15 percent remaining work.
In streetlighting projects, the NDMC is yet to complete 30 percent of the work, MCD 18 percent while five percent of PWD's job remains.
The road signage projects will be ready by the MCD only in September and the PWD and NDMC are also expected to complete these projects next month, with 50 and 16 percent of their work remaining respectively.
Also, as per the report, the re-development plan for Connaught Place will be completed only by December 2011.