Aish Bagh in a shambles as politics continues
THEY HAVE got so much embroiled in politics over Aish Bagh Stadium that the hockey fraternity, including the Bhopal Hockey Association, today made no effort to even remember hockey wizard Maj Dhyanchand on his 101st birthday. Not a single hockey player, BHA member or any other person from the sports fraternity had the time to even garland the photo of Dhyanchand at the stadium. Nobody actually turned up there.
| SAI refuses to help|
RECENTLY, THE Sports and Youth Welfare Department took initiative to resurrect hockey at Aish Bagh Stadium by sending proposal to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to provide support in opening men’s hockey academy there. But the SAI refused to help. On being asked, Director Sports Sanjay Chaudhary said the refusal once again put some brakes on the idea of the academy. However, he added that the department would not sit idle. "We will resort to some other alternatives", said a confident Chaudhary.
Every year, the nation celebrates the birthday of Dhyanchand in the form of Sports Day. The scene at the stadium presented a shocking sight. There was garbage strewn all around in the pavilion, dogs moved around freely and the atmosphere was no less than that of a haunted place.
“The politics in BHA and total neglect by the State Government has made this stadium ideal den for the antisocial elements”, said Mohammed Faiz, a resident of Aish Bagh Colony.
The turf at the stadium was laid in 1994. It lasts six year that ended in 2000. Since then, there has only been politics from the hockey fraternity over new turf but little action. The last international match was played there between India and Pakistan in 1999.
| Some unanswered questions|
1 Why is there a lack of coordination between Bhopal Hockey Association, State Sports Department and Sports Authority of India (SAI)?
2 Even if a new turf is laid at the Aish Bagh Stadium, is the stadium prepared for creating parking space?
3 The budget of the Sports Department was enhanced Rs 22 crore for the current fiscal from Rs 8 crore last year but nothing was earmarked for the stadium.
4 Why SAI refused to provide help in opening men’s hockey academy at Aish Bagh Stadium?
5 Why BHA has only concern for organising Obaidullah Gold Cup and no time to develop a new generation of hockey players?
Earlier, two parallel associations with the name Bhopal Hockey Association were fighting to claim ownership of the stadium. Later, court ratified the association run by Ikram-ur-Rehman but he himself got involved in politics and had no time to think for the stadium. For him, organising Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup at the stadium was more important than making efforts to lay a new synthetic turf.
“The BHA has become a platform of opportunity to claim the ownership of stadium so that personal gains could be made”, said Rajesh Tayde, a keen admirer of hockey.
On being asked, BHA secretary Rehman said that a meeting was organised at the Aish Bagh Stadium to plan strategy for the future. But when this correspondent asked the watchman of the stadium appointed by Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC), he said no one visited the stadium. “No one visited the stadium today”, said Mohammed Rafique, the watchman.