Despite several reminders in the past, the renovation work of the Rakh Bagh weightlifting hall, which is on the verge of collapsing at any moment, is still pending.
According to the members of the Ludhiana Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Association, the weightlifting hall at Rakh Bagh was built way back in the year 1987, and since then no repair work has been carried out either by the municipal corporation (MC), who built it or the sports department who already has a poor track record of maintaining sports infrastructure.
Earlier on August 28, a report was carried in HT highlighting the condition of the weightlifting hall, but to no avail.
Association’s head coach Parvesh Sharma said, “During the general elections this year, a grant of Rs 26 lakh was promised by the MC, but that did not materialise ever since. Put aside the expenses of worth lakhs for the heavy equipment, which we manage on our own, the MC has not even bothered to touch the structure since built.”
“Last month, when we approached the authorities, they responded that we don’t have adequate budget as of now, but we will hire a private company very soon to complete the renovation work,” Sharma said.
The association currently has more than 150 player members associated with it, who manage funds by pooling-in money.
It is pertinent to mention here that a huge number of national and international-level achievers in power and weightlifting have been trained here.
The achievers include, Vikash Thakur, who won silver medal in the Commonwealth Games this year; Sushil Kumar won gold medal at the Asian Powerlifting Championship in 1999 and Mandeep Singh Boparai who bagged gold at the Junior Asian Weightlifting Championship in 2001 apart from participating in various national and international events.
Rahul Kumar, a national-level weightlifting champion, rued, “Players suffer minor as well as major injuries from the debris falling from the roof of the hall while practising. Members of the association complained about the utter disregard and apathy on the part of the authorities, who despite being approached several time, have turned a blind eye to the problem.”
MC commissioner Pradeep Agarwal said, “Since, we already have a number of major projects under progress in the city, we will take them on priority. Once they get over, we will take up the renovation work of the hall. It may take some more time.”
“We are also in the process of taking up renovation of some other existing infrastructural sports projects in the city in the next financial year,” Agarwal said.
Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria could not be contacted despite several attempts.