Goa created the infrastructure within the time line set by FIFA. Behind the success of this story is Sports Authority of Goa Chief Enginner JN Chimulkar. The Navhind Times trailed Chimulkar, to discover the magic behind the madness.
Q: Javier Ceppi first came to Goa in November 2014. How would you describe Goa’s infrastructure journey from then till now?
The job of an engineer is the same in any project. We have to work devotedly, concentrate and deliver. I think we stuck to the parameters I have described.
Q: Was there nothing unusual in a project related totally to football?
Oh Yes! I must admit I knew little about the requirements for football infrastructure. Had I known, a lot of requirements could have been incorporated during the Lusofonia Games itself. For example during one of the meetings of the Lusofonia team I was advised by a Brazilian that a player’s room should be built on the East stand. At that time, I did not understand why. Today, I came to know that with two dressing rooms in a stadium we can have two matches with little time gap between the two. With the understanding of FIFA football, I realised the importance of many requirements a football stadium needs.
Q: Government projects tend to see delays in completion. How come you managed to meet deadlines?
We started with separate tenders for civil works and illumination. Had we clubbed them together, we may have faced problems. By having separate tenders, we started making parallel payments and in this way work never stopped. No one’s works got delayed because at no point were payments stopped.
Q: Were you never in doubt that the projects could be stalled due to lack of funds?
No. The deal was simple. Chief Minister wanted the infrastructure and understood how much money was required. The entire machinery was left at our disposal. The question of doubt never arose. Chief Minister Parrikar gave me not just a mandate but the wherewithal to implement it.
Q: Goa now has world class infrastructure for football. Will it not hurt you to see it being unutilised once the games are over?
The facilities were not just created for the World Cup but with the local boys in mind. Take for example the floodlights required. FIFA stipulated the flood lights in practise grounds should be of 300 lux. We have made provisions of flood lights of 4oo lux because I realised that after using the flood lights the lux come down through wear and tear. So by installing 400 lux instead of 300 we have left avenues for the local to use. Apart from this, the government is seriously handing over the facilities to clubs and Village Panchayats for use. The maintenance has been designed keeping in mind bear costs. People in villages will need to have the will to maintain the facilities and not just use them and forget that grounds need to be maintained too.
Q: What is the difference of grounds in Goa in the past and the grounds prepared for the World Cup?
The playing surfaces are best and I think through this world Cup a lot of emphasis has been laid on hygiene. Emphasis has been laid on the toilets; the changing rooms and even the landscaping within grounds need to be kept an eye upon. At the end of the day, what you do must be clean and beautiful.
Q: Did the facilities created for the Lusofonia Games come in handy?
As I said before, had I known before the guidelines for preparing FIFA grounds, we could have been ready much earlier. However, the Lusofonia facilities were of help as most required up gradation to FIFA standards. There are big differences in the Lusofonia and FIFA standards.