Four years after Delhi staged the spectacular Commonwealth Games, two swanky stadiums of Delhi University, which were upgraded amid fanfare for the purpose, remain out of bound for varsity students.
“The stadiums have not been used to host a single sporting event in last three years and have been lying out of reach for students unlike before CWG when the public had access to the sporting arenas,” said Anita Ghosh, Joint Secretary DUTA and member of DU Sports Council (DUSC).
DUSC is a statutory body of the Delhi University.
The Delhi University stadium, venue for Rugby during the 2010 games, is spread over 10,000 square metres and has a capacity of 2,500 permanent and 7,500 temporary seats.
The construction work for the stadium began in 2008 and it was inaugurated in July 2010, ahead of CWG. It has training area for Netball, Boxing, Women’s restling and Athletics.
After the games, the stadium was handed over to the university by Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. Thereafter in 2011, the university initiated an extensive upgrade plan to create a multi-purpose arena with both outdoor and indoor facilities.
In 2011, the varsity threw open the multipurpose-hall, a part of the stadium meant for indoor games for students and teachers at a monthly fees of Rs 250 and Rs 500 respectively.
The Rugby court as well as the other parts of the stadium are still lying unused.
The upgraded Polo Ground in Vijaynagar area – which features a synthetic track and was used as one of the training grounds during the CWG games – also remains inaccessible to students throughout the year, the DUSC members claimed.
The varsity authorities, however, claimed that the stadium has been used for hosting inter-college and inter-university matches for hockey and baseball.
“We have facilities and we are very well using them.
Students who represent the university in various sporting events are allowed to practise here. For the ‘non-player’students, every college has a playground and basic sports facilities,” C S Dubey, Chairman of DUSC told PTI.
“We use the stadium for conducting a sporting event if there is any shortage of space or facilities in respective colleges,” he added.
The varsity’s sport council members said that since every student enrolled in the university is supposed to pay Rs 50 as ‘annual sports fee’, they along with the teachers have the right to access the stadia and facilities and not just the students who represent DU in sporting events.
“According to the data available with the varsity’s engineering department, Rs 70 crore was spent on the Rugby ground, Rs 55 crore on the multi-purpose hall and Rs 23 crore on Polo ground. It’s a sheer wastage of word class sports infrastructure if the students can’t access the facilities,”Ghosh said.
“Before the CWG, the stadia were open for all students, teachers and even community members at no extra cost and were used for intensive coaching sessions. But after CWG, the infrastructure and facilities might have improved but the students can’t use them,” said Mukesh Kohli, Physical education teacher at Aryabhatta College and sports council member.
Another council member Pramod Shastri said, “A proposal of converting the Rugby ground into a cricket pitch was also in consideration, but its status is still unclear.”
Dubey said, “The matter has been discussed and the decision has been made. The authorities do not want the stadium to be just limited to cricket and to be used for various other sports, hence no cricket pitch will be laid there,” he said.