Delhi University’s vice-chancellor may have been advocating credits and marks for sports, but sporting facilities in the varsity’s colleges are in a shambles.
The Commonwealth Games in the city had brought to DU state-of-the-art sporting facilities and equipment. Two years on, however, the facilities are in disarray and most of the equipment stowed away in storerooms, safely tucked away from the students.
Seven fields on the north campus were refurbished during the Games. A gymnasium, shower and changing rooms and pantries were also built.
A long-time Hindu College official said the poor state of facilities was forcing students to go to other institutes to train. “A lot has changed over the past two years. There is sand all over the field now, which prevents anyone from playing there,” he said. “The gym is locked and the machines are rusting away,” he added.
The college’s well-equipped gym is shut as it has not been inaugurated yet.
The college principal pins the blame on the Games organising committee. “They did not restore the cricket, football, tennis and basketball areas. All we got was a rugby field which was of no use to us,” said Pradyumn Kumar, the principal.
Similarly, the facility at St Stephen’s College remains locked, according to sources. This is because the management says DU is yet to recognise the structure as “authorised”.
However, the Games caused no improvements at a number of colleges, where the facilities are all the more bleak. Aurobindo College, Malviya Nagar, is based in a building meant for a school and does not have any sports field. The part of a field at Ram Lal Anand College will be used to set up a structure to accommodate the evening college students.
“The colleges have to be proactive and ensure that their students get the best sporting facilities,” said CS Dubey, chairperson, DUSC.
“The university is tweaking its sporting policy and we will have discussions with colleges on their sports infrastructure once the policy is decided,” Dubey added.
‘All money spent on the project is going to waste’
For Hemant Pathak, the Commonwealth Games had brought a ray of hope.
“I had thought that facilities developed during the Games would be used for the benefit of students,” says Pathak, who is an avid cricketer and fitness freak.
He was, however, in for a shock once the Games got over. “Students in my college wanted play on the fields and use the gymnasium, but they were kept locked. By the time the facility reopened, the surface was destroyed as there had been no maintenance. The gym and the other rooms for sportspersons are still locked,” said Pathak, who was an undergraduate student at a prominent north campus college two years ago.
It is the locked fitness centre that disturbs Pathak the most. “The field and the surface have been compromised but the college has made an effort to maintain it. The gymnasium is, however, the biggest disappointment. In most colleges on the north campus, gyms remain locked and the equipment lying about. All the money spent on the project is going to waste,” he says.
“MA students are allowed to use the facility at the University Stadium. But what about the undergradu
‘They are trying their best but nothing has changed’
3rd year, Hindu College
Every evening, Prashant Kumar and his friends can be seen playing cricket on a small concrete area right outside the college ground.
The ground, meanwhile, remains unused, with a handful of students coming in to play football in the evening.
“Before the Commonwealth Games, the ground used to be full of students after 3pm. But since the college got the possession of the ground after the Games, everything has changed. The surface was remade for rugby and it had deteriorated by the time students were allowed access. Cricket and football cannot be played on that surface anymore as it is full of sand,” Kumar says.
According to him, the students have spoken to the authorities a number of times but nothing much has changed.
“They say that they are trying their best to improve things but the field has been in this condition for several months now and nothing has happened,” he adds.
Hindu College has the biggest field among the colleges on the north campus. Before the Games, it was also regarded as among the best in the whole university. The college has a popular cricket team which is now forced to practice on other college grounds.