Jammu facing step motherly treatment in terms of football infra

*Not a single ground fully developed as per FIFA norms
Goldi Sharma
JAMMU, Oct 19: The premier body of sports body of Jammu and Kashmir-J&K Sports Council is patting its back over the overall development of  infrastructure in the Union Territory but Jammu is becoming laggard in terms of football infrastructure as not a single ground is fully developed on the norms of FIFA so far to hold national & international level matches.
As per the Sports Council official, the Jammu have three playgrounds to organise football matches- one at GGM Science College, 2nd one is Parade Ground and 3rd one at Khel Gaon Nagrota which is in possession of Department of Youth Services and Sports (DYSS) but all of them are unfit as per FIFA norms.
If we talk about the Parade Ground which has the distinction of producing national and international soccer stuff from Jammu- has been left on the mercy of God by the premier body of the sports and its dimension is even less than where national level matches are organised and other facilities including parking, changing rooms and other requisite facilities which is necessary for holding national levels league matches.
The work of this ground (Synthetic Turf) of worth Rs 5 crores has been sanctioned to a Hyderabad based Sports Infrastructure Company- Great Sports in the month of February and allotted four month time for the completion of the works but ironically its up-gradation works is still hanging in balance, the reasons best known to the officials of the council’s construction wing.
Another ground which is in possession of the Council i,e GGM Science College’s ground. However, this ground has good dimensions as per the international norms but the Council never passed any resolution for its development or laying Synthetic Turf at said ground despite repeated requests were made by the football enthusiasts. The same ground, however, organised Santosh Trophy’s pool match in the year of 2008.
And the 3rd one is Khel Gaon’s football ground which was recently developed by the DYSS at Nagrota. Despite availability of sufficient land and funds, the Khel Gaon’s ground is not fulfilling the parameters of international norms due to various reasons as its dimension is less than the even GGM Science College ground which was deliberately ignored by the technical committee while passing the DPR, said an official of the Council while wishing anonymity.
“However, this ground is developed with model technology along with Synthetic Turf but the marking on the synthetic turf is also as per the international norms, while ground dimension is less than FIFA level ground” disclosed sources.
The contractor of the said ground purchased the turf that is actually permanent marked as per the international norms against the dimension of the said ground.
“These are the loopholes which were ignored by the technical committee of Youth Services and Sports while passing the DPR and finalizing the project. If the ground is not international level then why did the executing agency lay down the international level marking synthetic turf resulting the players are being confused during the game when they pass the ball and ball to ball marking because of its faulty marking,” said a coach of the Council.
The ground has been developed at that place where one side river Tawi is situated, while on the other side the boundary of the Sainik School. Whenever a player kicks the ball, the ball either falls in the river or crosses the boundary of the School where the collection of the ball is very difficult due to security reasons. “At least, the technical committee should recommend the nets on both sides, so that the players can play their game without any hindrance,” said another coach.
“If Kashmir has two international level Football Grounds with all facilities including Changing rooms, referee room, parking and others which is requisite for organizing international matches at TRC Synthetic Turf and Bakshi Stadium along with various playfield for practice matches at Gindun Stadium, Eidgah and District level then why not in Jammu,” said an official while castigating the Council Administration.
Now, the question arises if the DYSS have technical experts then why they ignored all these technical things while passing the DPR and taking the possession of the ground from the contractor or something is fishy in the whole episode, said another official of Youth Services and Sports and it is responsibility of the Government to take action those who were involved in making faulty DPR of the project.
While talking to Excelsior, international footballer, Arun Malhotra expressed displeasure regarding the development of football in the Jammu region. However, he was happy with the overall attention of the Government led by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in development of Sports infrastructure in the Union Territory.
Malhotra disclosed that a vacuum has been developed in Jammu for the last three years as no league has been organized in the region. If there was no league, no outstanding player could be born. “I was also the product of these league matches and then I got the opportunities to play at national and international levels,” he narrated.
He advocated for a healthy sports policy which promotes and adopts outstanding players and modern level Football Academies on the pattern of other States and UTs to produce international stuff. “The Sports Council have experienced coaches but their services are not being properly utilized due to lack of infrastructure in the region,” said Malhotra and added that If Kashmir can organize more than two dozen professional Leagues throughout the year, why not Jammu.
He raised the question, why Jammu’s outstanding players are rendering their services outside J&K? It is a million dollar question and the Government should think about it.
“Since the change of guard at construction wing of the Council in the month of April, not a single construction work either it is up-gradation of swimming pool to all weather swimming pool, installing alternative power system (Generators) at newly constructed Indoor Halls at district level and development of others sports infrastructures have been completed so far,” alleged sources of the Council.