Mulberry trees hamper development of Tral Sports Stadium

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Sept 23: An inordinate delay from the Department of Sericulture to permit cutting of mulberry trees in the Tral Sports Stadium has hindered the development of the field, forcing youth to travel long distances for sports activities.
The officials of the State Sports Council said the presence of the mulberry trees is hampering the development of the stadium. “The mulberry trees are a big hurdle in the development of the stadium,” Nuzhat Ara, Divisional Sports officer at Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council said, adding they have repeatedly raised the issue with the department concerned but failed to get any response from them.
She said for the last one year there have been no headways on the issue as the concerned department is silent. “They have not moved in any document in response to our requests and queries. Lack of response from the department has stalled the whole process,” she said, adding they have also taken up the issue with the district administration.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dar, when contacted said that they have received the requisition from the Sports Council and the issue is being examined. “We are examining the issue and if the trees are hurdle for the development of the stadium they will be removed immediately,” he said. “Earlier we have also ordered cutting of some mulberry trees for the construction of Indoor stadium,” he added.
The locals lamented that nearly three decades have passed since the Government allotted the land for construction of the Stadium but the facility remains underdeveloped. They said in absence of the facility nearly 2600 youth from around 122 villages were forced to travel long distances for the sports activities, “There is a clear lack of will on part of the Government,” Mohammad Yousuf, a sportsman said.
While divulging details an official at Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council said in 1985, the then Government handed over nearly 60-Kanals of land to the Sports Department for the construction of the stadium. He said that an additional 60- Kanals were later added but the department failed to put the space to use. “Despite an availability of sprawling 120- Kanals of land the youth have to travel to adjoining villages to play cricket. The allotted land is useless and unfit to play. None seems to be interested in this place,” he said.
Locals of the area said successive Governments’ failure to deliver on their promises has left the whole populace dejected. “For last 30 years, people have come here and made promises but failed to deliver,” a local said. He added in 2011, the then Sports Minister R S Chib visited the sports stadium and announced an amount of Rs 6 Lakhs for its repairing. Thereafter, another Sports Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din came in the year 2013 and announced Rs 5 crores. The earth filling of the stadium was started but left in midway, he said.
Moreover, one portion of land was dedicated for the purpose of football ground but the work was left midway. “Earth cutting and refilling started in 2014 but was left in midway,” Idrees Ahmad, another local said, adding the youth have to travel nearby Chursoo village to play.
Shabir Ahmad, Joint Director Sericulture, when contacted said since mulberry was a protected plant they have to follow a particular process to cut the trees. “There is a defined procedure one needs to follow in cutting the trees. The process takes a little more time,” he said.
He, however, said that they have received the case from the District Officer and would initiate action within one week. “It is not under the competence of the district office to take action. We have received the file from him and will look into it within one week,” he said.