*Constructed structure for lights wears a deserted look
JAMMU, July 10: Presently grassy, smooth and picturesque football facility in the heart of Temple City at Parade, which earlier wore a deserted look, is waiting in the wings for early installation of its sanctioned floodlights to run night matches for helping young footballers hone skill in congenial atmosphere.
The only football ground in the entire Old Jammu City, which has the distinction of producing International footballers including the likes of Arun Malhotra and Kamaljeet Singh, has remained neglected for years together because of the poor maintenance and misuse.
No-doubt, the face of this hub of soccer lovers-Mini Stadium Parade has been changed, yet a lot more is needed to be done to make it a standard football ground.
“This old Football ground in Jammu caters to the needs of hundreds of footballers, besides being facility for morning walkers, who off and on, contribute from their own pockets for its maintenance. We are at a loss to understand as to why the floodlights are not installed in this ground, when the same have been installed at more than one venue in the Valley. Why different yardsticks are used in raising infrastructural facilities in the two regions is a million dollar question,” said a national footballer on the condition of anonymity. He further added that the new life to this ground has been given by former MLA Rajesh Gupta and other such facilitators, besides football enthusiast Rakesh Khanna.
According to the reliable sources, the man behind changing the face of this tumpy, rough and bumpy football ground is Mr Khanna, the organiser of prestigious Pt Prem Nath Dogra Football Tournament, who, it is learnt, has left no stone unturned in beautifying this old football ground.
Sources said that the ground had been fully grassy up to mid-seventies, but due to negligence by its custodians this soccer facility had become sandy, dusty and injury prone for the budding footballers.
Sources further said that the people like Guptas, Khannas and likes-the men with a mission to rejuvenate and revive the traditional football ground in Jammu, succeeded to achieve their goal by turning this deserted ground into a new look picturesque Stadium.
According to the reliable sources, the constructed structure for the installation of floodlights in this ground wore a deserted look as the developmental work has failed to continue for some unknown reasons.
A group of national level footballers and football enthusiasts while talking to EXCELSIOR said that J&K State Sports Council-the custodians of this soccer facility had initiated to install floodlights at this facility, but is yet to give it a practical shape.
They said that the ground is desperately waiting for the installation of floodlights to help football lovers organise mega events during nights.
They further said, the Governor’s Administration, which is striving hard to raise the sports infrastructure in every nook and corner of the State, needs to serve strict instructions to the custodians of this Stadium and other concerned authorities for maintaining this soccer facility properly and installing the much needed floodlights at an earliest.
“It is always a welcome step to hold big matches in the State. Organising a football match between former Indian football icons and soccer stars of the State at Synthetic Turf, TRC Srinagar recently was a healthy move to promote soccer in Jammu and Kashmir. Rs 10,000,00 were provided to the organisers for holding this match. We hope similar events will be held in Jammu to give fillip to soccer in this region also. There should be one measuring rod for all sports and for all regions,” expressed a football player turned coach on the condition of anonymity.