The Jalandhar municipal corporation has put its sport hub project on hold as it has not allocated a even a single rupee for the project in the 2016-17 budget.
The MC’s dream project, resolution for which was passed in 2008, was to come up on 60 acres at Burlton Park. There was a proposal to construct a cricket stadium, a swimming pool of international standards, hockey ground, two multi-storey parking lots and a five-star hotel. But after consistently slashing the budget for the project over the years, the civic body has ignored it in this year’s budget. The MC’s claims of getting funds from the Centre have also remained on paper.
Details gathered by HT reveal that in 2015-16, the MC had allocated Rs 10 crore for the project, but it failed to utilise even a single rupee. No funds were allocated for the project in 2014-15 and in 2013-14, Rs 40 crore was proposed for the project. The civic body managed to spend only Rs 25 lakh on the project of the Rs 100 crore proposed for it in 2012-13.
Municipal commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khehra said the MC was not working on the project on its own as it is now part of the smart city mission. “The work on the project will be initiated if the city is selected in the second list of smart cities,” he said.
The MC had planned to construct a cricket stadium on 26 acres having a seating capacity of 40,000, VVIP lounge, media lounge and roof above the pavilion. Besides, a swimming pool on 2.5 acres, hockey ground on 9 acres, two multistoried parking lots, and a five-star hotel, were also proposed to be constructed in a phased manner.
The MC had also proposed to generate income by opening 70 shops on the periphery. For operation and maintenance of sports facilities and repayment of loans, there was a proposal of setting up a commercial complex on 10 acres.
The MC had allotted the project to a Hyderabad-based firm, Nagarjuna Construction Company, for Rs 135 crore and got a loan of Rs 130 crore sanctioned for the project from Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), but it was written-off.
There are no signs of development at the site where the project was to come up. The site is being used by the Jalandhar District Cricket Association.
In 2009, a welfare society had approached the Punjab and Haryana high court and filed a public interest litigation (an amended petition was also filed in July 2012) demanding to stop the project as it involved axing of several trees. The court dismissed the petition in October 2013.