SAMBALPUR: At a time when the city is reeling under shortage of playgrounds, the district administration has planned to construct the new administrative building of Sambalpur Municipal Corporation (SMC) at Mandalia ground here. The decision, meanwhile, has not gone down well with the residents of the city.
Located along Ring Road, Mandalia ground spreads over three acres of land which belongs to Revenue Department. The ground is one of major playgrounds of the City with several important tournaments organised in it. This apart, cultural events and public meetings are also organised in the ground.
With the city expanding by leaps and bounds and high rise buildings mushrooming in a fast pace, playgrounds have begun to shrink.
The worst hit are the children who have hardly any place for their outdoor activities. With entry into Veer Surendra Sai (VSS) stadium restricted, the handful of playgrounds available for the children and youths of the city are Mandalia ground, Gangadhar Meher College ground, Commissioner Colony Ground and newly developed PHED ground at Ainthapali.
Earlier, there were playgrounds in Railway Colony, Farm Road, Government Bus Terminus besides several other places. In fact, every locality had its own permanent ground where children had enough space to play and unwind themselves. However, the grounds have gradually vanished with concrete jungle cropping up in most of the areas.
Sources said the residents of Jagannath Colony are filling up a water harvesting structure to carve out a playing space for children.
The Public Health Division, Sambalpur has plans to set up a water treatment plant at the PHED ground at Ainthapali, which spreads over 22 acres, sources added.
sports lover Surya Panigrahi said there is enough space behind municipality building which can be utilised for construction of the new SMC building. The authority should not construct any building on Mandalia ground, added Panigrahi.
Municipal Engineer of SMC Basanta Padhi said the existing Municipality building does not have adequate space to accommodate all sections of SMC. There is a proposal to construct a new administrative building of SMC at Mandalia ground. As there is dearth of open space, Mandalia ground has been identified for the purpose, Padhi added.