Namchi, 31 Jul:
It has been six years in the making, but Bhaichung Stadium here, which should have flaunted a pitch of artificial turf by now, continues to be overgrown with weeds instead. The project has seen many delays, but now, the Sports & Youth Affairs Department, the executing body for the project, has again reaffirmed that construction work on the stadium is in progress and assured to complete the stadium by March next year.
The deadline appears uncertain because there continue to be differences between what the department claims and what the contractor has to say.
It may be recalled that the new stadium was sanctioned by the State government in the years 2012 at a project cost of Rs 33 crore.
This project was however beset with delays and over the years, another Rs 15 crore was added to the project cost.
The frustrated public of Namchi had even called a public hearing on the matter which was followed by several visits by senior officers and Minister, but one look at the construction site and doubts continue to rise.
When contacted, the Nodal officer of the project, Additional Director, SYA, Kamal Chettri, informed that the Department was trying to complete the project. He informed that department had called a meeting with contractor recently and made an agreement with him to complete the construction works by March 2019.
He also informed that Department was releasing the funds to complete the project and that the construction work with be resumed full swing within two or three days.
In the other hand, contractor in question claims that he has carried out his work according to the department’s directions and completed around 70% of the construction.
He further contended that he has completed work to the tune of Rs 30 crore, but has received only around Rs 17 crore from the department.
He also informed that all the major construction works have been completed and even the advance payment for the artificial turf and all the construction materials has been made.
He said that total cost of project is around 49 crores and he has received only Rs 17 crores from the department. If the department released the required funds the project will be completed within 6 to 7 months, he adds.
Meanwhile, the public of Namchi and footballers of South district have appealed to the state government and Chief Minister seeking his intervention to bring the project to completion.
Speaking to SummitTimes, sports-persons and youth of Namchi said that Namchi was losing footballers and had been put ten years back in sports due to the delay in construction of Bhaichung Stadium.
They informed that Namchi used to host several football tournaments and sports events at Alley ground (now Bhaichung Stadium) which provided the platform for local sports-persons to get noticed. Ever since construction of the stadium began, however, the number of such events has reduced substantially and robbed local talent of a platform.
They add hat that Namchi Public Ground at Singithang was not up to the mark like Alley Ground used to be, hence young sports talent of Namchi and the surrounding areas have remained uninterested to play there.
Moreover, the ground at Singithang was not convenient to organize big football events for the district. These were the reasons why they want the State government to complete the stadium construction at the earliest so that Namchi can return on track when it comes to sports once again.