Jammu’s ‘dream’ international stadium no where in sight

Rajesh Dhar
JAMMU, Dec 20: While the Jammu and Kashmir cricketers are crafting space on the cricketing map of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with their splendid performances, the dream project of establishment of an international standard cricket stadium in Jammu has been shattered as its construction was is nowhere in sight.
A visit to the spot revealed that establishment of the cricket stadium in the State has been the desire of almost all the cricket lovers including cricket administrators since the inception of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), yet the development of the dream project got hampered and delayed for some reasons, the alleged multi-crore scam in JKCA being the major reason.
It is pertinent to mention here that the foundation stone for the dream project was to be laid on March 18, 2012 and the Association had made almost all the arrangements with regard to its ceremony, but due to confusion and chaos in the Association, the work on stadium failed to take off, giving rise to blame game.
“What hurts one is the fact that on the one hand, even smaller cricket associations have constructed good stadiums and allied infrastructure for the promotion of cricket and cricketers in their States like Himachal Pradesh, Assam etc. while on the other hand, J&K, despite good show by their cricketers from a few seasons, failed to develop cricket infrastructure in the State, thus, leaving the budding cricketers in the lurch and allowing their talent go waste’’, reliable sources observed.
“Despite lack of infrastructure in the State, the J&K boys are beginning to showcase their talent and skill at the national scene and the development of sufficient standard infrastructure would be a step forward in promoting the game of cricket in the State. Talent without opportunity is nothing. The players will be getting opportunity only with sufficient infrastructure available. For that matter, construction of stadium in Jammu and Kashmir is need of the hour. Playing politics with developmental works is simply rubbish”, said chief coach of J&K Ranji Trophy team Bishen Singh Bedi in a conversation with the Excelsior.
It may be recalled that the proposed site for cricket stadium of over 500 kanals at Bajalta was handed over to JKCA by the Government on lease in the year 2005. After some hiccups initially because of its area coming in the flood zone, the JKCA had designed the proposal in such a way that there was no way that the stadium would have been affected by the floods.
“JKCA had hired the experts from within the State as also from outside for healthy construction of the stadium, but all of a sudden the dream of the ‘dream project’ was shattered and the proposed site as of now wore a deserted look’’, sources said.
They asserted that JKCA president Dr Farooq Abdullah, who happened to be Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, who had initiated the dream project, needs to harness his dynamism and energy and take such initiatives again to help Jammu and Kashmir cricketers blossom at the national scene.
Otherwise, they said, hopes of promising cricketers of the State who have been performing fabulously at the higher levels from last few seasons, would be dashed to the ground.