A dilapidated building, crumbling interiors, cigarette butts and used syringes welcome you to the indoor swimming pool near Rakh Bagh. The ambitious Rs 20-lakh project of the government is hanging fire for the past 17 years.
This construction for the project, an initiative of the municipal corporation to provide an all-weather swimming pool to the residents, started in 1999 but is yet to see the light of day.
Apinder Grewal, who the mayor then, was overseeing the construction of the pool. He is now the president of Punjab and Ludhiana District Swimming Association. Grewal said since his tenure got over in 2002, not even a single brick had been installed in the building.
“The structure was constructed and all the pipes were installed. The only work left was to install a filtration plant and tiles,” he said.
Grewal said the idea was to not only to provide an allweather swimming pool to professional swimmers for practice but also to beginners. The depth of the pool was kept 6 feet. He added that he had approached the present mayor, Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, many times but he always replied that they had already spent a huge amount to renovate the main pool.
Balraj Sharma, general secretary, Punjab Swimming Association, said when the pool was brought under construction it was the first of its kind in Punjab. But later, a similar pool was constructed in SAS Nagar.
“Swimmers need to practice all through the year but due to a lack of an indoor swimming pool, they face a gap of around four months. However, we try to sustain their stamina through other physical activities but they are not able to acclimatise with the water,” he said.
Sharma added, “Since the indoor pool in Mohali is also not in a good condition, some of the city swimmers move to other states to practice in an allweather swimming pool.”
Gohalwaria said, “The material used for the indoor swimming pool is not in a usable condition. It has to undergo renovation completely. There is a shortage of funds as of now. However, I will try and start its renovation within my tenure.”
BUILDING USED BY JUNKIES
When the HT team visited the pool, located behind the MC swimming pool in Rakh Bagh, it found that the gate was missing making it a thoroughfare for antisocial elements.
The team also found empty cigarette packs and used syringes in the building, making it obvious that the building was a haven for drug addicts.