The decision of the higher authorities to throw open the Guru Nanak Dev Stadium -- the only sports facility available for city’s sports aficionados -- for hosting a commercial event on Friday night has left the ground in a mess.
The barricading and tents installed there for the event had left pot holes all over. Even the level of the ground had become uneven and garbage was seen littered all over the ground. Meanwhile, daily walkers and sports enthusiasts, who use the ground for practice, were facing a difficulty in locating the running track.
District sports officer (DSO) Harpal Sandhu, who was unhappy about the decision of giving this ground for a commercial event, said, “I am a sportsperson myself. We worship the ground. So it was quite disheartening for me as well. But the higher authorities had taken a decision on it. However, I took a stand that the event organisers will not move an inch from here till they pay us the maintenance and cleanliness cost, which we have taken from them.”
“This is the first time that I have seen this ground being given for a commercial event. But I assure the sports enthusiasts in the city that we will soon clean the ground and get it fixed. The organisers have paid us for the inconvenience. They have paid Rs 5 lakh for maintenance and around 10,000 for cleanliness,” said the DSO.
A few daily walkers and athletes, who were spotted at the ground, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The organisers have left the ground in a very bad condition. It will take months for the ground to get back into its normal condition. No trials or tournaments can be conducted here. We are surprised on this neglect and request the administration to be strict in this matter.”
“It is a shame that the ground we worship has been treated like this. Why doesn’t the administration or state government arrange for a place where commercial events can be organised? Why do they have to fiddle with a sports facility? It is actually an inconvenience to us, as it is the only sports facility we have here. At least this one should be maintained well,” added a group of sportspersons practicing in the ground.
It must be mentioned that the stadium has remained neglected over the years. As a one-time gesture every year, it is temporarily revamped when deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s brainchild Kabaddi World Cup is held. The stadium is crying for funds and upgradation.