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SC plans to complete first phase of HAC by April 15

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 1. The Kerala Sports Council (KSC) has set April 15 as the deadline for completing work on the first phase of the proposed High Altitude Centre (HAC) in Munnar.

Disclosing this to The Hindu here on Tuesday, the KSC president, C. Mohanachandran, said the first phase of the project would help the Council to provide lodging and training facilities to 100 sportspersons at the Centre.

"The work is progressing smoothly and we are hopeful that everything will be in place by April 15, which is the deadline we have given to the contractors."

Mr. Mohanachandran said the Centre would have a grass track and other facilities for training. The turf, however, would be completed only by June. The KSC hopes that the Sports Authority of India would utilise the facilities for running the National camps for various disciplines.

The Centre, being built on a 15-acre plot donated by Tata Tea sometime back, has already cost the KSC a little over Rs. 89 lakhs for land filling and Rs. 1.5 crores for construction work.

The KSC president said the second phase of the project would begin later this year. The project, after completion, would have facilities to lodge 250 sportspersons at any given time.

Govt. support needed

The Council has already sought the assistance of the Union Government to complete the second phase of the project. "Since we are cash strapped, we have asked the Union Government for an assistance of Rs. 1.47 crores for taking up the second phase of the project. As the Centre would provide an impetus to training, we are hopeful that the Union Government would accede to our request," Mr. Mohanachandran said.

The KSC president also revealed that a final decision to award the contract to lay the synthetic track in Kochi would be taken within the next few days. Already two of the four companies that were in the race for the contract have been eliminated from the process due to technical reasons.

While ABM Builders (Kochi) has been eliminated due to its failure to provide the samples of the track as required, the bid from Polytan Inderjit Mehta Construction Limited (New Delhi) was deemed unfit after the samples it had submitted failed to satisfy the technical specifications. The samples were found to have only a thickness below 14mm as against the minimum requirement of 14mm-17mm.

The KSC Standing Committee at its next meeting would scrutinise the bids from the Hong Kong-based C&A Supplies International and the German firm Orange before arriving at a final decision on awarding the contract. Incidentally, the Hong Kong company has already been entrusted with the job of relaying the worn-out track at the University stadium here.

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