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Lost without a game

punjab Updated: Jul 25, 2012 00:52 IST
Surinder Maan
Surinder Maan
Hindustan Times
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Without even holding a game, a national-level sports hostel and hockey wing in this native village of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai has died and turned into a ghost house.

In 1964, Phul Renu Guha, the-then union minister of state for social welfare, had laid the foundation stone of Lal Bahadur Shastri Hostel at Dhudike. The complex was completed in 1968, but in 44 years since then, the state sports department has never used it.

The 33-room hostel, four acres of hockey wing, a two-floor structure worth Rs 45 lakh, and another 21 ground-floor rooms are all deserted. "No athlete ever used the sports hostel and hockey wing," said Jagtar Singh, sarpanch of Dhudike. "Vandals, however, utilised it as toilet, and stole all the fittings. Drug addicts use it as a hideout and villagers dump their sewage on its grounds."

The village authorities pleaded with the sports department and director of public instructions, colleges, to take possession of the facility. "The panchayat cannot take over the buildings because these are public works department structures," said the sarpanch. "Only the state government can take decision on it, and it has sat on it for many years."

Jyoti Singh, a social activist of Dhudike, remembers there were 40 seats at the wing when it closed during militancy in 1993. "After that, only the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) once pitched a camp there," he said, "but the sports department never held any activity at the complex."

It was a new issue raised, deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind said in reply to a question. "If the villagers apply through a proper channel, the administration will pay attention to their demand, definitely," he said. "I will send a subdivisional magistrate (SDM) to the spot and, based on his report, write to the government for further action."