THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the debate over the reintroduction of the pass system for walkers into the Central Stadium is hotting up, the Kerala State Sports Council, which manages the stadium, is in no mood to relent. "The decision was taken after we felt a grave need for some system to check miscreants from entering the stadium,’’ said Sports Council chairperson Padmini Thomas. "We received several complaints from students and coaches who use the stadium on the immoral activities by some miscreants. The new system will help us ensure a safe atmosphere for sports personnel as well as walkers,’’ she added.
The complaints included those on drunkards who leave empty bottles in the stadium and eve-teasing, she said. Those who oppose the new system, including local MLA V Sivankutty, termed the Council decision as stupid.
"If there are miscreant activities, the Council should check it by employing more security staff. It is highly undemocratic to levy a fee from the walkers,’’ he said. "The increased traffic has made the city roads unsafe for walkers. There were several incidents in which morning walkers were hit by vehicles. There are only a few safe places for walkers like the Museum and Kanakakkunnu compounds and the stadiums,’’ he said.
"The Central Stadium is used for walking by local people as well as those from far-off places who make short stays in the capital for various purposes. It is not practical to ask them to obtain a pass for taking a walk in the stadium,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Council has issued 1,050 passes so far after the new system came into effect on January 12. The public can purchase the application form by paying Rs 50 at the Council office during working hours. The applicants should also produce the copy of any identity card and the pass is issued on the spot. In the new system, the space for walkers in the stadium has also been defined.
"The walkers, out of ignorance, often disrupt the sports practice by walking on the track used by athletes. Now, we have set apart the tracks 7 and 8 exclusively for walkers and other tracks are reserved for sports persons,’’ Padmini said.
Over 200 students use the stadium every day for their sports practice, of which a good number are females. The practising time is from 6.30 am to 8.30 am and from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm. The Council had earlier courted controversy by asking the walkers not to wear ‘dhotis.’