SRINAGAR: Construction of an indoor stadium in the heart of Srinagar was stopped midway five years ago, and in that abandoned state – “let it go to ruin,” the contractor who left in a huff had said – it has been since then.
The planned construction by the Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council (JKSSC) was to build a four-storey structure. Its skeleton can be seen from the road outside: the rusted roof, incomplete compound wall, and ground overgrown with weeds.
Located at Polo View, adjacent to the football ground, the stadium was meant for under-15 players of Kashmir. Srinagar has only one indoor stadium and the second stadium was expected to provide a fillip to sports activities and professional tournaments, a goal to which both state and central government have publicly, and repeatedly, lent support.
But an official at JKSSC said that the state government was utterly indifferent to the new stadium. The construction work was stopped in 2013 because of lack of funds, the contractor saying that the cost of construction was “too high” than the money JKSSC offered. The official said that the contractor also cited “change in design” of the stadium as a reason for leaving work midway, and before he left cursed thestadium: “Let it go to ruin.”
Sources in the JKSCC said that if the stadium is handed over to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which is under the central government, “it will be constructed within a couple of months and would be maintained as per international standards”.
“But the decision makers here have failed the sports aspirants,” the sources at JKSSC said.
Former football player Parvaiz Ahmad Bhat, who was to be in charge of the new stadium’s ground, said that the JKSSC was not doing its duty of creating and maintaining sports infrastructure.
“The state lacks infrastructure for indoor games. The chair holders of JKSSC are to be blamed for this. The stated policy of the council is to crate/develop sports infrastructure in various parts of the state but they have failed to do so even in the capital,” Bhat said.
Beenish Bano, 13, said that young players are being deprived of a place to play and practice. “Just onestadium for thousands of players is not enough and never can be. The state needs to create more indoorstadiums,” she said.
JKSSC Secretary Naseem Javid Choudhary told Kashmir Reader that several projects are held up because of lack of funds. He said the council has asked the state government to grant funds for the completion of all unfinished projects.
“The government has launched Languish Project Scheme for completion of pending projects. The completion of the indoor stadium would be first priority,” Choudhary said.