Multi-crore project at Subash Stadium Udhampur gathering dust

A view of multi-purpose ground and centre pavilion at Subash Stadium in Udhampur.
A view of multi-purpose ground and centre pavilion at Subash Stadium in Udhampur.

Rajesh Dhar
JAMMU, Aug 28: Subash Stadium Udhampur is the historical sports complex in this region of the State, which had an honour of hosting prestigious Ranji Trophy and allied matches in its beautiful arena more than once, up to early 90s.
However, this sporting asset, which otherwise should have been catering to the needs of thousands of sportspersons is crying for its development, renovation and the multi-crore project sanctioned at the Stadium is gathering dust.
Around 5 years back, the State Government had sanctioned a project of over Rs 7 crores for establishing a central pavilion alongwith a torch house, an indoor hall, spectators stand, besides underground irrigation system, turf wicket and a swimming pool in its mammoth arena, however, after the construction works to the tune of around Rs 80 lakhs on its central pavilion, the work was stopped in the mid-way, to give the Stadium a deserted look.
Sources said that the Government had sanctioned Rs 7 crores for the development of this Stadium, way back in 2009-10, adding that the work was to be initiated in a phased manner and an amount of Rs 1.50 crores was released in the first phase.
“The Stadium was inaugurated by the then Minister for Sports, RS Chib, way back on November 14, 2010 in presence of MLA Udhampur, Balwant Singh Mankotia”.
Sources added that the construction work of the pavilion was stopped only after the stairs installed in the pavilion had collapsed either because of some technical errors or due to the usage of sub-standard material.
Now, over 4 years have passed and no further construction has been initiated in the Stadium, except the under progress construction of multi-purpose indoor hall, which was inaugurated by the then Minister for Sports, Taj-Mohi-ud-Din but not under this project.
Immediately after the collapse of the stairs in the pavilion, an inquiry committee was constituted to submit the status report of the damage and the reason behind collapse, however, it has been observed that the status report is either yet to be submitted or put in a dust bin.
“It is shameful to see the sports arena, which, otherwise, possesses almost all that is required to make it a First-Class facility, in a pathetic condition. The resumption of the developmental work at the Stadium is the need of the hour, rather the demand of the situation,” said an officer of the Sports Department while expressing anonymity.
Experts believe that the Stadium has such a big ground, which, if properly developed and maintained is fit to organize major games like football, cricket, hockey, apart from other games like volleyball, kabaddi, kho-kho etc, not to talk of various indoor games.
However, the situation demands that the Government makes a team of experts and architects to make a revised estimate of the pending project and fulfill the dream of the thousands of sportspersons.
“The underground irrigation system or you may call it sprinkle water system, will make the ground lush green and the turfing of the wicket at the centre will be adding to its colour. The completion of the incomplete construction work at the centre pavilion, the replica of which is analogous to that of Mohali, apart from beautifying the ground will prove to be an asset for the players as also for the spectators,” expressed a retired officer.
The officer added that the swimming pool and an indoor hall, which are the part of the project and an electricity system including a reservoir, will make the Stadium a complete package.
Meanwhile, when contacted and asked about the resumption of the construction work, the Minister for Sports, Raman Bhalla said that he has already gone into the philosophy of the things regarding the completion of the project, adding that the efforts are on to help the Stadium to flourish and promote sports in the State.