It was a unique way to register a protest, as hundreds of people took over the Dak Bungalow square in the state capital on Sunday, and turned it into a football field. After all they were sportsmen and women, some of them the renowned ones of our state.
As the sportspersons affiliated to the Bihar Players Association (BPA) dribbled the ball around the busiest crossing of the city, shouting slogans and urging the state government to pay more attention to them, the crowd that had assembled there due to the traffic jam, also joined in.
And, the rest they say was a full-fledged game of football. The banners speaking volumes about lack of coaches, playgrounds, officials, and honourfor the distinguished performers, served as the goalposts.
“Though Bihar is progressing, there is no progress in the field of sports. The state government is not paying any attention. Earlier, footballers used to practice at Gandhi Maidan, but now they been stopped from doing so. Where will they go? We will keep protesting till people in power stop playing with the future of sportspersons,” said BPA president, Mritunjay Tiwary.
The protesters pointed out that chief minister Nitish Kumar announced a year ago that a sports academy on the lines of National Institute of Sports, Patiala would be established and astroturf for hockey would be laid at Physical Training College, but both the projects have remained on paper till now.
Similarly, Rs. 46 crore wasallotted for constructing 182 stadiums in the state, but ithas been mismanaged and no stadium has been built so far. PYYKA (Panchayat Yuva Krida Khel Abhiyan) is also not functioning here due to which Bihar is losing crores of rupees given by the Centre every year. In fact, no action has been taken against government officials who have not submitted PYKKA games accounts details for 2010-11 till now.
The players pointed out that neither the Patliputra Sports Complex has been handed over to them, nor the Moinul Haq Stadium is in good shape. They also demanded that the chief minister spend more time with players on the occasion of the state sports day and honour them with his own hands.
The protest was led by famous footballer, Arjuna awardee and BPA chairman C Prasad, Santosh Trophy player Ranjit Sen, Rajkishore Shukla , Manoj Kumar, Archana Kumari, Ram Ratan Singh, Shyam Babu Yadav, Shardanand, Harendra Kumar, Pushpa Kumari and several others.