The government has proposed an approximately Rs 8,000-crore makeover of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the capital, and invited bids to study the feasibility of the project. According to a tender floated on Wednesday, the sports ministry said it ‘has decided to redevelop/develop Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi, to unlock value from optimal utilisation of its iconic sporting asset’.
The document added that the ‘overarching objective is to promote the holistic development of the stadium complex’ so that the venue can host the Olympics and other international multi-sport events in the future. It has also been proposed that, among other things, the refurbished venue should have a 3-5 star accommodation facility, more training facilities and convention centres on-site.
As a first step, the sports ministry has ‘decided to conduct a feasibility study for determining the technical feasibility and financial viability of the project’ and has floated a tender to select a financial consultant. “The indicative cost of the project is Rs7,853 crore based on the pre-feasibility study undertaken by M/s. Ernst & Young LLP,” the tender document stated. “If found technically feasible and financially viable, the project may be awarded on DBFOT (design, build, finance, operate, transfer) basis to a private entity selected through a competitive bidding process.”
Niti Aayog’s suggestion
It is learnt that the suggestion to redevelop the stadium through public-private partnership came from the Niti Aayog. Two years ago, a consultancy firm drafted a detailed report, offering ways to convert the existing stadium into a ‘state-of-the-art facility’ and also generate revenues from sports and non-sports activities. It has cited examples of similar models implemented at the Singapore Sports Hub, Amsterdam Arena, Perth Arena and Ahmedabad’s TransStadia.
The cost includes the redevelopment of existing sports infrastructure, academies, a proposed sports university, hotels (3/4/5 star, budget or service apartments) and development of the area for commercial purposes. The proposal states that commercial activities ‘shall be sports-related only’ and may include retail outlets, virtual gaming and adventure zones.
Additionally, there is a proposal to set up a ‘national/international level indoor training venue’ for basketball (one court), badminton (two courts), and table tennis (four). A 10m shooting academy and an Olympic-size swimming pool have also been suggested.
The sports ministry has recommended the formation of a five-member consultancy team, which shall include a sports infrastructure management expert whose role will be to ‘provide sectoral perspective in sports infrastructure facilities for transforming JNS to be capable of hosting Olympics and other international multi-sporting events.’
The expert will also be responsible to ensure that the stadium conforms to the standards prescribed by the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, and World Athletics. It must be noted that India has expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Youth Olympics, 2030 Asian Games, and 2032 Olympics, apart from the 2027 Asian football championship. The country has already won the rights to host the 2022 Women’s Asian football championship.
The complex, spread over 102 acres in the heart of New Delhi, was constructed for the 1982 Asian Games and was last renovated 10 years ago for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. That project reportedly cost the exchequer Rs 961 crore. The main stadium was the centrepiece for the CWG, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies as well as athletics events.
The main stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 60,000 while the complex also houses an indoor weightlifting auditorium, three football fields, two athletic tracks, two badminton halls, a table tennis hall, an archery training zone, and other sports facilities.