With the biggest democracy carnival of world just round the corner, sports despite being an integral part of Punjabi culture, found no mention in the manifestoes of all the candidates contesting Lok Sabha elections. Existing sports infrastructure in the district is already in the dire need of overhauling leave aside any hope of major development in the coming time.
“The project of renovation of the Guru Nanak Dev Stadium -which include canopies for all the blocks, maintenance of hostels at A and C blocks (having the capacity to accommodate 150 players), overhauling of racing track that would incur expenses of Rs 1.5 crore,”district sports officer Kartar Singh said, adding Pirthipal Hockey Stadium project was also pending from a long time.
He also added that appointment of professional coaches for all the games and introduction of sports academies would be their priority list.
Considering the sorry state of affairs for sports in the city, HT interacted with these candidates about their opinions on the development of sports in Ludhiana.
Manpreet Ayali, Shiromani Akali Dal candidate from Ludhiana, who himself is a national-level basketball player, shared, “Development of sports infrastructure in rural areas of the district, new stadiums, introduction of new academies (with residential amenities) and professional coaches in city, would be taken up with utmost seriousness.”He also said that youth needed to be motivated to towards the sports.
Simarjit Singh Bains, the independent candidate from Ludhiana, said, “Introduction of several sports activities concentrating on involving youth actively is the need of the hour as nothing much has been done during the past decades in this respect, resulting in youth falling prey to the drug addiction.”
He added if voted to power, he would build a racing track and a football stadium and utilise the space adjoining parks and vacant places in city to build grounds.
“In order to hone plethora of budding talent hidden in the rural areas, I would make use of the government land to build sports academies.”
HS Phoolka, Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) candidate from Ludhiana, said, “To indulge youth of Ludhiana in sports activities, we would speed-up the drive to counter and alleviate the menace of drugs. Secondly, we would work strenuously to curb the prevailing corruption in sports bodies in the district.”
He added that a state-of-the art stadium would be introduced and a specific attention would be given to attract youth, especially girls towards the sports.
Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu said, “As part of the major sports infrastructure development in the city, we would implement a project wherein every block in Ludhiana will have a mutli-purpose stadium, catering to all major games.”
He added that each stadium would incur expense of Rs 5 crore funds for which had been passed by the Centre.
“Apart from having professional coaches for every game, we are also planning to construct a stadium in line with that of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi,”he said.