The cycling velodrome at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) continues to be in a deplorable condition as the district sports department and PAU authorities are busy passing the buck at each other.
Built in 1989, the velodrome — a sports facility which once was a venue for ‘Asian Cycling Championship’ in 2005 — has not seen any major repairs since then.
The sports department after constructing the track handed it over to the PAU authorities for maintenance and upkeep. With both sports department and PAU authorities shrugging of the responsibility for the task, it is now more than a decade since the track has developed cracks. And nobody has shown inclination to renovate it.
“Even a single crack or hole runs the risk of life or a limb to a cyclist, who at its full swing sails up to 90 kmph. If the bicycle has new tyres, chances of falling are minimal but if the tyres are slightly worn out, it poses a risk to the cyclist’s life,” said a national level cyclist, requesting anonymity.
He said the seats meant for the spectators at the velodrome have not been repaired since they were built, and are in a pitiable state. If the department has utilised funds to bring in one of the fastest cycling tracks in the country, it should also ensure its maintenance, he added.
Onkar Singh, secretary general of Cycling Federation of India, said, “When built, it was a state-of-the-art cycling velodrome in the region. But the slugfest for taking charge of the velodrome continues between sports department and PAU authorities. We have been putting up the matter with the state sports department to take the velodrome in its ambit but nothing concrete has come out of it. The PAU does not have a cycling team. They just want to keep the property with them, but don’t want to repair it.”
“It should be handed over to the sports department. There is cycling velodrome in GNDU (Guru Nanak Dev University) at Amritsar. It is being maintained by the university authorities. I will write a letter to the state sports department to resolve the matter on priority,” Singh said.
“A cycling velodrome was built in Ludhiana keeping in view that it is a hub of bicycle makers. And there is no dearth of pool of talent which can be honed by providing training and infrastructure here,” added Singh.
District sports officer Kartar Singh Sehamby said, “A memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed with university authorities for giving them the charge of cycling velodrome, in month’s time.”