At SAI, 'poor quality of workmanship' irks Rathore

Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore has taken great exception to the condition of some of the infrastructure after a visit to the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru on Thursday.

On what was his first trip to the Netaji Subhas Southern Centre since he was appointed to the post, Rathore raged at the “poor quality of workmanship” in the construction of the synthetic athletics track and the renovation of the swimming pool area.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore has taken great exception to the condition of some of the infrastructure after a visit to the Sports Authority of India campus here on Thursday.

On what was his first trip to the Netaji Subhas Southern Centre since he was appointed to the post, Rathore raged at the “poor quality of workmanship” in the construction of the synthetic athletics track and the renovation of the swimming pool area, promising to order an inquiry into the matter. He later interacted with athletes from across sports, seeking to address their grievances.

The 400m running track, which was laid close to two years ago, is wearing out in places and has undergone some repair work already. The swimming pool complex, containing two pools, has just been renovated.

Rathore enquired about the adhesive rubber on the big pool’s starting blocks and took a dim view of a malfunctioning flush tank in one of the toilets. The minister minced no words while expressing his displeasure.

“I had been hearing about the bad quality of the work on the synthetic athletics track and the swimming pool,” he said. “The track is of the worst quality I have ever seen. There is very poor quality of workmanship that has gone into the swimming pool. The surface of the track is supposed to be brand new, it's supposed to have a life of seven years, and it is already worn out in places and they've put patches. It's only two years old. The agencies that have been asked to do this work – I’m going to order an inquiry into them. The money belongs to the taxpayers. We can't get second-rate items for it. There are better synthetic tracks and better swimming pools being built for lesser money. This is very distressing for me.”

Having given athletes a hearing, Rathore promised to look into their concerns. “The national volleyball team asked me for more volleyballs; we've immediately granted it,” he said. “The Indian hockey team asked for better quality of food. I've already told the Regional Director that we will pay more for the cooks and for the chef but there has to be better quality.”

At the shooting range, Rathore was asked by young shooters if the place might be kept open beyond 5 p.m., when it currently shuts, to enable them to train after college. “He agreed to extend the hours to 10 p.m.,” said rifle shooter Meghana Sajjanar.

Asked about government-appointed National Observers being required to resign, Rathore clarified that conflicts of interest could arise if they were active athletes or were running academies.