IT'S A sad tale of neglect.
The 50x25 metres Allahabad University (AU) Multi-Purpose Hall— built with great hopes of taking sporting activities on the campus to great heights— is lying in sheer neglect for the past two decades thanks to the callous attitude of the varsity officials.
While pigeons freely fly in and out and the wild weeds grow on the rooftops, sporting goods worth lakhs remains unused and rotting in the hall at a time when varsity's sports enthusiasts are crying for better facilities and equipment on the campus.
Constructed after spending millions, the hall was finally inaugurated by the then UP Chief Minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna on November 30, 1974 during the tenure of Prof Ram Sahai as the AU Vice-Chancellor. Though for some years it did remain the centre of sporting activities, the hall for the past two decades has been used as a dumping ground of costly sporting goods, and every few years, spruced for a few days to impress outstation visitors like the NAAC team that visited the varsity around three years back.
As a result, the boxing ring constructed around 4 years back at a cost of around Rs. 4 lakh has never witnessed a even a single bout of boxing till date even when the varsity does have a boxing coach as well as a team of pugilists, but who have never even practised on the ring and today prefer Allahabad Degree College over the varsity for all preparations.
Even poorer is the state of gymnasium exercise machines spread all over the hall, rusting and full of pigeon droppings, testifying to their lack of use and maintenance. The same goes for the wrestling and judo mats lying in a corner besides the exercise cycles.
Nearby lay the two TT tables that, sources say, never witnessed a single table tennis match till date. Though purchased with much pride to impress students visiting the varsity during the 2002 Youth Festival, most of the goods actually never saw any action.
The fact that the sports goods and equipment have been left in the hall whose asbestos roof is full of holes and easily allows the rain water to gush inside also point towards the sheer apathy of the officials concerned.
On being contacted, honorary secretary of the AU Athletics Association Prof RK Upadhyaya conceded that the hall has not been "fully utilised".
"Lack of funds and various other reasons let the hall to get neglected for the past many years. Though for few years after 1984 we had some coaches of NIS (Patiala) living there and helping varsity sportspersons, after their departure, the condition of the hall has deteriorated greatly," he said.
Prof Upadhyaya said that the hall today requires heavy repairs including repair of the roof and floor, overhaul of sanitation system and rewiring for proper electrical fitments but confessed that the AU Athletic Association has not prepared or forwarded any proposal for it.
"We have received assurance from the Vice-Chancellor as well as the Finance Officer that funds would be allotted for reviving sports on the campus and whenever such a proposal is asked we would submit it. However, efforts to kick-start cricket is in full swing and AU teams of various sports like kho-kho, football and basketball are participating in various competitions even today," he said.