VISAKHAPATNAM : Andhra University’s Golden Jubliee Grounds was once a venue for the national Ranji Matches, but it now wears a desolate look and the district administration makes use of it for various governmental purposes. The historical ground was disfigured after the setting up of a helipad near the pitch on the ground for the Chief Minister’s visit in the month of June. Though the helipad was removed, the ground shows no signs of coming back to its original shape any time soon.
The ground has turned useless after the authorities dug up the pitch to arrange for a concrete helipad which was later removed. As the dug up area is near the pitch, sports enthusiasts can no longer play cricket, football or any other major game. The ground is said to be in this condition since the last two months. Initially, the ground was dug up in the first week of June in the wake of the CM’s visit. However, with the programme being postponed to the last week of June, the ground remained in the same condition for around two weeks and then the authorities built a helipad.
Sportsmen and AU authorities thought that the ground would be levelled and the helipad removed after the CM’s tour. But so far only the concrete base has been removed.
“Athletes can at most take a run around the ground as just the running track is left intact. The area is like a scar in the middle of the ground,” said Sanjeev Kumar, an athlete from Waltair.
Earlier, it was solely a cricket pitch where Ranji and inter-state university matches were held. Later football matches and other sports tournaments of AU were also conducted. Moreover, many schools without grounds of their own gather their students here for sports and outdoor activities. Many sports events of various organisations in the city are still being held here.
Reacting on the issue, AU vice-chancellor GSN Raju said that while cricket can be played with the help of a mat, football is not possible. “Receiving VVIPs in our University is a great opportunity. However, we will make sure that from the next time such events don’t disturb the ground or the game.”