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Pay but cannot play

india Updated: Jul 17, 2011 02:27 IST
Ajai Masand
Ajai Masand
Hindustan Times
Ajai Masand

Over three years ago, when the Yamuna Sports Complex was closed for Commonwealth Games renovation work, there were protests — with members even observing a few black days.

When ‘realisation’ dawned that they would be given better facilities once the showpiece event was over, the 11,000 members somehow compromised on their daily routine.

But their hopes have taken a beating. Despite the fact that the Games got over nine months ago, they have fewer facilities and the green cover has shrunk by at least 50-60%.

“Earlier, there used to be greenery all around but it has been replaced with concrete roads. Trees were chopped by the hundreds. The two-and-a-half km long walking track has been reduced by a kilometre,” says Sanjeev Bhasin, a member, who has been mobilising members to fight for their rights.

Green area shrunk
A sizeable chunk of the green area was converted into a concrete jungle for the state-of-the-art table tennis complex. Sadly, it is now out of bounds for the members and non-members alike. No one, except the administrators, know what is its condition. It first hit headlines when the false ceiling came crashing down following a major thunderstorm last year. A makeshift signboard (far right pic) warns members not to trespass. The complex could easily be used for badminton and table tennis, of which there are many takers. Instead, three TT tables and four badminton courts in the old wing cater to the ever-increasing member base.

The lawn bowls facility too is locked. Being an outdoor facility, it is in full public view. No one knows how and when it will be made operational.

Neglected venue
The massive archery ground, for which crores were spent despite members wanting temporary structures, tells a tale of utter neglect. The swanky look is gone and is replaced by craters on the periphery and in the middle. It has been dug up to lay cricket pitches. The changing rooms and rest rooms have not been opened ever since the games ended. “There used to be a running track here, but now what remains is an uneven ground with sprinkles jutting around dangerously here and there," says a member on condition of anonymity.

The swimming pool facility opened about 20 days back but it is expensive for non-members. The authorities are charging Rs 200 per day and there's no provision for monthly subscription.

The football stadium periphery is a walking hell. Furrows, nearly 2-ft-by-2 ft, have been made on either side of the goalposts and they could be a hazard at night or in rainy season.

Add to it the value added tax (VAT) on the yearly subscription. “The areas that were untouched before CWG, like the tennis complex, volleyball and basketball arena, are running smoothly. The rest is under lock and key,” says another member.