Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council has come up with a Rs 17 crore plan for renovation of facilities at Sher-e-Kashmir indoor stadium here but sportsperson have little hope of seeing it implemented anytime soon. The Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Stadium at Wazirbagh here suffered severe damage to sporting facilities due to flood in 2014 but even after three and a half years, the Sports Council has only been able to prepare a detailed project report for its renovation and upgradation.
The massive sports complex, which was one of the best in India when it was thrown open to public in late 1980s, had provisions for conducting activities in various disciplines like badminton, basketball, boxing, table tennis, boxing, weightlifting, powerlifting, fencing and martial arts. The stadium was closed to public for many years following the eruption of militancy in 1990. It was occupied by CRPF and converted into a security camp.
Although the CRPF vacated it more than a decade ago, the Sports Council did not do much to restore the stadium to its glory. Badminton, basketball, fencing and martial arts are the only sports that are being played in the stadium these days. The overall condition of the stadium is pathetic with layers of dust gathered all around. The synthetic flooring of the stadiums main hall poses a great risk of injury to the athletes as it is torn at many places or there are big gaps.
The wooden flooring beneath the synthetic layer has also started decaying at some places and can cave in anytime. “It seems no one is bothered about the upkeep of this place. They do not even clean the stadium or the floor even once in a year. We only keep hearing that Rs 200 crore has been sanctioned for sports infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir under Prime Ministers Development Package but where is it going?” a badminton player, who wished not to be named, said. Mohammad Irfan, another player, said the present government seems to be spending the money in the constituencies of ministers only while the existing facilities have been ignored.
“New indoor sports halls are being constructed everywhere with one minister managing to get two in one district. What about funds for the existing Indoor stadium which can be world class?” he asked. Mohammad Aamir, a swimmer, has been waiting since 2016 for the swimming pool at Gindun playfield to be thrown open to public.
“It was in 2015 that the swimming pool was announced and we were expecting it to be completed by 2016 end. However, given the pace of work, it seems like it will take three more years,” he added. Secretary of the State Sports Council Waheed Parra, who is also youth president of ruling PDP, sought to defend the slow pace of works but maintained that the council was making all efforts to ensure good sports facilities for players across the state.
“The indoor sports complex had received huge damages due to occupation of security forces during the turmoil and due to the devastating floods of 2014. Some urgently required post flood restorations were carried out within the available funds to make the stadium functional for various sports activities,” Para said.
“While the stadium is functional, the council has submitted to the state government a comprehensive proposal of Rs 17 crore for its complete renovation and restoration,” he added. Para said for maintenance of the complex, tendering process is at its final stage under annual maintenance contract (AMC). The secretary said the swimming pool at Gindun will be completed by the year end. “The work is in progress at the said project. The project being a specialized one and due to its design parameters, the project is set to be completed by end of this year (2018),” he added.
Para said the council has also submitted a proposal for upgrading the Tennis court at Gindun at a cost of Rs 19 lakh to the state government. “Tennis courts have already been made functional after floods and are in use for the activities. However, a proposal to upgrade the stands was submitted to Govt. for Rs 19.00 lakh,” he said. Para said an additional Rs 10 crore has been sanctioned by the government for providing lighting facilities at various stadia in the state. “In Kashmir division, the sports stadium at Pulwama, the sports stadium at Bandipora and Gindun stadium in Srinagar will be provided with lighting facilities. In Jammu division, K K Hakku Hockey stadium and football ground at GGM Science college in Jammu district and Sports stadium at Kathua will be provided lighting facilities,” he said. Para said that the sports council, in normal course, gets an annual grant of Rs 5 crore — Rs 2.5 crore for infrastructure development and Rs 2.5 crore conduct of sports activities. “This is not enough for a state like Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.