Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack, the first such stadium in the state, has been in news for two reasons.
First, it was the venue for a local vernacular daily’s 75th anniversary function which was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, among others.
The second one is relating to its pathetic state, which came to the fore during the above-mentioned event. For the event, the entire stadium was spick and span with heavy deployment of security personnel and police officials at its every nook and cranny.
But the roof of the stadium gave away the stadium’s real picture. While an important programme was underway inside it, the outside roof was seen covered with a tarpaulin. The roof is leaking and the authorities did so as to avoid any kind of trouble arising in case rainwater drenches the hall.
With the pathetic situation of the stadium, which has been hosting many national and international level sports events, coming to the fore, local residents, and political leaders have started flaying the government, accusing it of neglecting it.
“The indoor stadium has its own importance. But reality bites when it comes to its present state,” said a Cuttack resident, Manoj Chhatoi.
At a time when the state government is pulling out all the stops to make the state a sports hub, such deplorable condition of the stadium raises doubt.
Recently, events like Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship, Asian Basketball Tournament and National Badminton Tournament were organised at this stadium. But the condition of the stadium will bring only disgrace for the state, some residents observed.
“Cyclone Fani caused a severe damage to the roof of the stadium. Then, the roof was repaired spending lakhs of rupees. As of now, the lack of maintenance has put it back to square one,” said Chhatoi.
Local MLA Md Moquim alleged the government is giving less importance to the indoor stadium as compared to Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
“I have been saying it repeatedly that the government is treating Cuttack step motherly. This treatment has brought the city to such a state that a reputed stadium like Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium was required to be draped in tarpaulin e to avoid leaking,” said Moquim.
Cuttack Mayor and BJD leader Subash Singh admitted that the roof is leaking. “As a preventive measure, the roof was covered with tarpaulin. The matter has already been taken up with the concerned department for necessary steps,” said Singh.