Bana Singh Stadium: A multi-purpose mega arena reduced to minor playfield

A view of Indoor complex, pavilion and pathway in the deserted Bana Singh Stadium in RS Pura.
A view of Indoor complex, pavilion and pathway in the deserted Bana Singh Stadium in RS Pura.

Rajesh Dhar
JAMMU, Aug 22: The State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is striving hard to craft a space on the country’s sports map and is leaving no stone unturned in creating a niche in the field of sports at the higher levels, is still lagging behind at the national scene. Reasons? Many! However, the main reason is the lack of standard sports infrastructure in the State.
Though, a lot of infrastructure has been developed and renovated in the State from last few years and the efforts are on to develop the same as the construction work of sports complexes has been initiated and is being initiated at many places in the State, yet the in-availability of standard infrastructure hampers the process of producing good sportspersons to keep the State’s flag high at the national level. Lack of standard infrastructure in the State is proving to be a major stumbling block for excellence of sportspersons in Jammu and Kashmir.
Despite the fact that the State has yet to develop International Standard Stadia, lack of technical wisdom, at times, makes the existing sports infrastructure unplayable and unwarranted.  One such example is multi-purpose jumbo arena ‘Bana Singh Stadium’ located at RS Pura in Jammu, which, because of the technical errors has been reduced to a minor ground to leave the sportspersons of the area in the lurch.
It is pertinent to mention here that the foundation stone of the Stadium, named after Captain Bana Singh, Param Veer Chakra awardee for his gallant services, was laid way back by the then Minister for Medical Education, Technical Education and Youth Services and Sports, R S Chib and the stadium was constructed at the cost of Rs 2 crore, with indoor facilities, wrestling hall and sitting tiers etc.
Though, the custodians of the arena, the Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council, has developed an indoor complex in this Stadium, besides initiating construction of pavilion also, yet the development of such structures and a pathway somewhere in the centre of the ground has reduced the area of the Stadium to the level where it can hardly hold major games properly in it.
Sources said that earlier the infrastructure like indoor complex and pavilion was planned to be developed at the periphery of the ground which could hardly have affected the playing area, however, after the construction of the basement, which can still be seen lying at the periphery, the plan was changed and an indoor complex and pavilion was established in the playing area to make this asset a minor playground-fit for recreational activities only.
Sources further said that the surface of the ground is unleveled, rough, so dangerous for playing purposes, adding that the Stadium which could have been ready to host mega sporting events in the disciplines of major games like football, cricket, hockey and athletics, besides a number of indoor games is in a pathetic position.
“It is strange to observe that the ground, which could have accommodated 400 meters standard athletic track in its arena, is now hardly fit for the establishment of even 200 meters track in it,” said a local Physical Education Teacher while expressing anonymity.
He further said that the infrastructure inside the ground has been developed hurriedly and without proper planning to add to the woes of the sportspersons.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Minister for Sports, Raman Bhalla said that the Government is keen to develop and upgrade sports infrastructure in nooks and corners of the State, so existing Stadiums will be developed and renovated properly, besides the development of International standard stadia, adding that the construction work in Bana Singh Stadium has not been done in his tenure as Minister and assured of initiating necessary changes for its betterment.


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