For the third year in a row, Ferozepur, which was one of the venues for the World Kabaddi Cup matches in 2011, has been ignored to host any of the matches of the kabaddi tournament, which will commence on December 6.
According to the schedule issued by the Sports Department of Punjab, Jalalabad, an assembly segment in Fazilka district, represented by Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in the state assembly, will host a few of the 5th World Kabaddi Cup matches.
During the matches in Ferozepur three years ago, Sukhbir Badal had assured to rebuild and facelift the local Shaheed Bhagat Singh Stadium but, contrary to his promises, Ferozepur has been deprived of organising any of the matches for the last three years.
It has not only demoralised the local sportsmen but also the inhabitants of the area. "The victory of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal from Jalalabad, when it was part of Ferozepur, had ignited a great hope of development in this utterly neglected border district, but it proved the other way around as the district was bifurcated and Jalalabad became the part of Fazilka,'' said Amit Sharma, a sports lover.
"To organise kabaddi matches at Jalalabad, a new stadium was constructed last year while the existing one at Ferozepur was not even considered despite the fact that it has a bigger and better stadium. Sport-wise also, Ferozepur was not a backward district as it had produced a number of international sportsmen including Ajit Singh, Gaganjit Singh, Manavjit Sandhu, Ronjan Sodhi and Manjit Singh besides others," rued Charanjit Sharma, a local resident.
"The SAD-BJP has spent a lot on kabaddi matches and is again ready to spend on the extravaganza, but none is bothered about a number of government employees who are daily protesting on roads to demand their pending salaries and wages," said Parminder Singh Pinki, Congress MLA.
The creation of Fazilka as a new district has badly hit Ferozepur and it's also for the first time that the district has no representative in the state cabinet. While several sangat darshan programmes have been held by the deputy chief minister at Jalalabad or Fazilka, but no such programme has been organized in Ferozepur for the past many years.
Sunil Sharma, district sports officer, admitted that so far no any match of the 5th World Kabaddi Cup has been scheduled to be held in Ferozepur while at Jalalabad, matches will be held on December 16.