JAMMU, Feb 11: In the 76th year of India’s Independence, the dreams of almost three generations of people living in several villages of Banihal in Jammu and Kashmir have finally come true.
A long cherished dream of having a Sports Stadium in Banihal has been fulfilled after Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council (JKSC) constructed a Mini Sports Stadium in village Bankote, Gugawara area of Banihal. The villagers had been demanding a stadium for decades, but previous Governments ignored their pleas.
The official sources said that work of Mini Sports Stadium commenced around two years back with an estimated project cost of Rs 1.5 crore in two phases. In the first phase of work, Rs 53 lakhs were used for the construction of the stadium while in the second phase of the project, Rs 22.39 lakhs were utilised.
“We have completed over 90 percent of the work as per the tender and hopefully the rest of the work will be completed soon,” officials said.
“I’m a huge sports enthusiast and we used to play cricket in nearby school ground since my childhood because we didn’t have a sports stadium in Banihal, many other youngsters like us were forced to travel a long distance to reach Ramban to play any local level tournament.” said Arif, Ex- Naib Sarpanch, Gundadalkote to Excelsior.
He expressed his distress over observing the youth being drawn towards drugs due to the lack of recreational opportunities in these villages. “There are more than twenty thousand people residing in two dozen Panchayats. Time and again different delegations including local DDC approached higher authorities for the construction of the stadium here and finally the dream of having a sports stadium have been fulfilled after a long struggle and wait. I am unable to express my joy, “he added.
“Though sports field has taken complete shape, but we feel only 60 percent work of the stadium has been completed so far, we want this stadium to be developed as a proper Mini Stadium with all infrastructure facilities including Changing rooms, Washrooms, Seating areas for players and other basic facilities so that we can organise tournaments here” he added further.
Zaffar Ahmed, a local resident mentioned that ever since the ground was set up, many young people from nearby villages visit it every day to participate in their preferred sports. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon to see women, children and elderly people taking stroll in the early morning and evening. This place has really developed into a bustling hub as a number of events have already been organised in the past few months here.
Sports Council Secretary, Nuzhat Gull, stated that the youth of Banihal had urged Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha for the play field in Banihal, since there was not a single play field in the entire area.” A sports field has recently been built by J&K Sports Council as proof of LG’s commitment to the youth of J&K to develop and improve all sports infrastructure so that youth can play and grow in their desired field of sports.”
The dream of having a full-fledged sports stadium in Banihal area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district is a vision of progress and development for the region. Such a stadium would not only provide a platform for the local youth to hone their sporting talents, but also have the potential to bring the community together for various events and competitions.