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IN FOR A CHANGE: With funds promised for renovation works, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the city will have a new look soon. - Photo: Mahesh Harilal
KOCHI: Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium is finally getting a long-overdue facelift, before the Asian Cup Under-20 Football Tournament slated for November 2006.
This was decided at a meeting between Dominic Presentation, Minister for Sports and Fisheries, and Antony Isaac, Chairman, Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), which owns the stadium, on Tuesday.
"The State Government has offered to give around Rs.2 crores for roofing the stadium, with the GCDA putting in around Rs.6 crores. Another Rs.60 lakhs will be spent on renovating the stadium," said Prof. Isaac.
The cash-strapped authority might have to shelve some of its projects to take up this project, along with other projects such as the renovation of the Ambedkar Stadium and construction of a swimming pool sports complex at Rameswaram.
Faulty drainage system and subsidence of the ground had led to inundation during the Santhosh Trophy Football Tournament held recently, leading to changes in schedules. The entire drainage system will be re-laid. The subsidence of the ground will be corrected by filling up the affected regions with proper gradient. The turf will have to be laid all over again.
However, the authority will have to wait till April 2006, as it had committed to host one of the One Day International matches to be played during the Indian tour of England cricket team.
"By that time, we will complete all the formalities for the renovation work, including inviting tenders for the work. After the ODI, we will start the work and the new turf will be laid before monsoon sets in," said V. Gopalakrishna Pillai, Senior Town Planner, GCDA.
The roofing of the stadium will be taken up after the football tournament. The authority will consult Narayana Rao and Associates, Chennai, who are the architects of the stadium, on options available for providing roofing. The authority has also decided to take up the renovation of Ambedkar Stadium. It has also reported water-logging due to subsidence.
A full pavilion is being considered for the stadium. The existing structure, which houses many shops, will be demolished and rebuilt with new space for 100 more shops.
Though the estimate for the work is being prepared, it expected to cost around Rs.3 crores. The tenders for this work will be invited in a couple of months and work could begin in three months time, said GCDA officials.
The State Government has promised an assistance of Rs.50 lakhs for the international swimming sports complex, which the GCDA has proposed to build at Rameswaram.
The pool was originally designed for the swimming and hence the size was decided to be 25x50 metres.
However, this design was later changed to include other sports events such as diving to match international standards. Now, the authority is working on a new design and layout.
Along with Mr. Presentation and Prof. Isaac, K. Babu, MLA; Johnson K. George, Additional District Magistrate; T.G. Tegi, Sports Director; Aloysius Mathew, GCDA Secretary, K.M.I. Mather, president, Kerala Football Association, and senior GCDA officials attended the meeting.
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