Hajin’s ‘finest’ sports ground craves admin’s attention

Sports enthusiasts urge DC, Secretary Sports Council to maintain the playfield

Hajin: The sports lovers in the Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district have expressed strong resentment against the authorities for “ignoring one of the finest” playgrounds in the town.
They said the tall claims of officials that they are improving sports infrastructure are falling flat as the playground is in a dilapidated condition.
The local cricket and football lovers are angry at the administration’s “lackadaisical” attitude.
“This playground was considered one of the finest grounds in Bandipora and was mostly used by footballers. However, official negligence has pushed it to such a state that it is in shambles now,” Zahid Zubair, Secretary District Football Association (DFA) Zone Sonawari told Kashmir Reader.
He said there is not even a dewatering mechanism available in the ground and it takes weeks to dry. “The excessive water has nourished weeds in the ground. The grass makes it impossible for players to use the ground for any sports activities,” he said.
The locals said that sportsmen used to throng the ground for games. “The footballers used to love the softness of the surface but the ground has lost its glory,” said a youth Altaf Ahmad.
He said a little rain submerges the whole ground. “This is the peak season of sports activities but the continued water logging has become a serious issue, not letting us carry out any sports activity,” Ahmad said.
He said the local youth have approached the authorities many times and apprised them of the issue but to no avail.
Abdul Basit, a sports player, said that on the one hand, the administration is doing its best to keep youth away from drugs and other menaces by involving them in sports activities, but on the other hand, they are not paying any attention to maintaining the sports grounds.
“A little rain submerges the whole ground as there is no proper drainage system,” Basit said, adding, “It has turned into a cesspool.”
President DFA Zone Sonawari Asim Aijaz said that a huge rush of players used to be witnessed in the playground, and during morning and evening time, players used to remain busy with practice. “However, due to the sorry state of the ground, that glory is gone,” he said.
“Look at those kids; they are playing football in a corner,” Asim said, adding, “The dilapidated condition of the ground has pushed our youth to depression.”
He said if the authorities will seriously look into the matter and maintain the ground properly, national-level matches can be played here. “We had organised a football tournament, but due to water logging, it was cancelled. We even removed the water through the pump but the continuous rain causes frequent water logging,” the president DFA Sonawari said.
The sports enthusiasts have urged Deputy Commissioner Bandipora to look into the matter.
Chief Planning Officer Bandipora Imtiyaz Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that steps would be taken to address the issue.
“The ground will be maintained, and we will even make changing room and bathroom for players,” he assured.
When contacted, Secretary Sports Council Nuzhat Gul told Kashmir Reader said she will look into the matter.

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