Members of the hockey fraternity in the city have criticises the decision of the sports department to allow ‘World Kabaddi League’ matches to be played at the hockey astroturf at Punjab Agricultural University.
According to them, the irresponsible move of the department was not only causing severe damage to the astroturf, but also interrupting the practice sessions, which is at its peak now, of the players.
A coach at the Malwa Hockey Academy, requesting anonymity, said the installation of heavy camera equipment, walking with all kinds of shoes on the turf, placing rubber mats for period of 10 days and putting chairs on the turf were causing some serious damage to the astroturf that was created at a cost of around Rs 6 crore. “I fail to understand why the government invests so much on infrastructure development if they cannot maintain it.”
Jagbeer Grewal, executive member, Malwa Hockey Academy, said, “Infrastructure built for one sport cannot possibly be used for another sport. The department is following a ‘one size fits all’ strategy.”
“The academy has produced seven players of international repute, but interests of its members, players and coaches are neglected for no reason. Placing mats for a period of more than 10 days at a stretch will make the turfs’ surface uneven, thus making it difficult for the players to practice later. Watering the turf on daily basis, which is a most significant part of the upkeep of the turf, is flagrantly ignored.”
District sports officer Mahender Singh said, “The World Kabaddi League organisers have taken due permission to hold the matches on the hockey turf at the PAU and we are charging the organisers on per match basis.”
However, CEO, World Kabaddi League, Raman Raheja said, “We are paying more than Rs 1 lakh per match to the directorate of sports, Punjab. We are taking all possible precautionary measures to not cause any damage to the hockey turf, but if by any chance we cause any damage we have an insurance cover for the stadium and we will be responsible for all repair work.”