CHENNAI: Lack of sporting infra has been blamed for India’s limited success in international events such as the Olympics. The case of this multi-purpose playground at Sembedu village in Tiruvallur, which was built by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department is a case in point.
According to the foundation stone, the playground was built at a cost of Rs 60,000 in 2020. It is full of pebbles, rocks and covered in weed and it is difficult to walk on it, let alone play. The foundation stone further reads that it took 13 days for the work to be completed.
The bemused villagers say that there are only a few bricks on the ground and for that the overall cost, including labour charges, would not be more than Rs 5,000. So, it is unclear what was done in 13 days, which cost Rs 60,000, added the villagers.
“This open land is far away from our village and is full of pebbles and stones and we don’t have a clue how it cost this much,” said Mathivanan, a villager. The residents say that it is necessary for a proper ground to help the youth prepare for district-level events like kabaddi and volleyball. This ground is useless and there are no facilities for volleyball and the ground is too hard for play kabaddi.
Activist Pughalventhan V, recently, wrote to the Tiruvallur Collector, highlighting the condition of the ground. In his letter, he said that the ground was a waste of government funds as it was far away from the residential locality and is poorly prepared. “Anyone who plays there would suffer serious injuries,” he said, and the officials to fix the ground soon.
When contacted, an official with Ellapuram Revenue Block said they would visit the ground and write to the department on its present condition. “Due to election duties and second wave we couldn’t focus on this. We will visit and ensure it is prepared properly,” the official said.