People of a Sujanpur village in Hamirpur district are reportedly upset with the Sainik School authorities, who are allegedly trying to grab a prime land of a huge chaugan (playing ground).The ground is used for hosting various state-level games and also to organise a national-level Holi festival since long by the great Katoch rulers of Kangra hills.
The historic Chaugan Maidan is spread over an area of about 1,050 kanal and was created by Katoch rulers, especially, Maharaja Sansar Chand.The maidan used to be the parade ground of Katoch rulers. The Katoch kings used to see the daily parade of their army from the Tira forts located atop the Tira hills. The lush green grass of the huge ground was imported by Raja Sansar Chand from England.
However, with the passage of time, the ground has started shrinking due to increasing population.
At present, the only Sainik School of the state stands on one side of the ground and the school authorities want full control over the ground.
However, locals said this cannot be allowed. They have formed an action committee to save the ground from the clutches of those who wanted to grab it for their own benefits and welfare.
They have already taken up the matter with chief minister Virbhadra Singh and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. Both the leaders have assured the people that they would not allow its misuse by anyone.
Meanwhile, some of the locals have also encroached upon its other sides. People have started using the ground for car parking and training ground.
Until now, no concrete efforts have been made by the administration to save the ground from encroachers.
Though fencing work around the campus had been done, intruders do not stop entering the ground to enjoy there with their families.
Rajinder Rana, former MLA of the area and now vice-chairman of the state disaster management authority, said that he is opening a sports college in Sujanpur and the ground will be of a great help for the budding players.
He added, "The sanctity of the ground will be maintained at all cost and no one will be allowed to encroach upon even a single inch of its land for personal use."