Built in 1980s to accommodate hockey players of Lala Lajpat Rai Government College in Dhudike village, the sports hostel has turned into a haven for drug addicts.
The 26-room hostel, spread over four acres, was built opposite the college to facilitate hockey players, who took admission to the institute owing to its performance in sports field.
Kulwant Singh Pannu, a retired coach who served the college for 21 years, said the institute used to have one of the best hockey teams in the country. In 1990s, the team remained in the list of SAIL Nehru Champion Colleges, and players such as Manjit Singh, Harjit Singh, Manveer Singh and Kuldeep Singh played for the nation, said Pannu.
The hostel, however, was used for just a couple of years before falling into disuse during militancy in Punjab. As the government merged the sports wing with the sports department, the role of the education department was also diminished, and the hostel was abandoned. About a decade ago, the building was declared unsafe, said college vice-principal Gurmeet Singh.
Jaswant Singh, who graduated from the college and represented Dhudike team in hockey, said his team could have performed better if they could have availed themselves of better facilities.
During a visit to the hostel, HT found youths sitting in the abandoned hostel building, consuming drugs. The infrastructure has also deteriorated or been stolen.
Village sarpanch Jasdeep Singh said to curb drug abuse in the hostel building, he had recommended to the authorities concerned to hand it over to Punjab National Bank, as it wanted to open a training centre for villagers.
“PNB is already running a training centre, but it is congested. Deputy commissioner Parminder Singh Gill did not approve my proposal,” he said.
Questioned on drug abuse at the building, Ajitwal station house officer Gurminder Singh said no addicts were found during raids, though it was possible they had fled. “We will intensify raids to curb drug abuse,” he said.
Meanwhile, maintaining that the hockey team still brought laurels to the college by bagging top positions during tourneys in Punjab, the college vice-principal admitted the players are not getting enough facilities.
“The players have to return to their villages after practice, as there is no hostel facility for them,” said Gurmeet Singh. The government should refurbish the hostel, so that players could save time on travel and practice more regularly, he said.