Mrunal Manmay Dash

The sportspersons of the coastal town of Balasore seem to have been left in the lurch by the district administration as the multipurpose indoor stadium in the town, built two years ago, has been gathering dust since then.

The multipurpose indoor stadium built at ITI Chowk in Balasore city was constructed at a cost of Rs 11.1 crore to encourage sportspersons. It has been two years since the building was built, but there is still a lock hanging on its main gate.

Similarly, the indoor stadium hall was constructed for Rs 58 lakh at the city district school ground. But the players don't get a chance to train there. The players and sportspersons are deprived of the opportunity to train there due to the closure of the stadium.

“The stadium has been locked for the last two years. Badminton practice should have begun here two years back. The employees and in-charge of the stadium have been assuring us to open it soon. But it is far from operational,” said a young sportsperson, Pramod Kumar Behera.

Similarly, another local sportsperson Rashmiranjan Kar said, “The gate has been closed for so many days that the lock has developed rust on it. The government had inaugurated it in 2022. But it does not help anybody. Youths are wasting their talent waiting for the stadium to be operational.”

The indoor stadium was built in the city at a cost of crores of rupees because there was a shortage of playgrounds for the players in the city. However, due to the prolonged lockdown, the players are heading elsewhere, alleged another sportsperson.

“Indoor stadiums have been opened in almost everywhere. But this one at Balasore is yet to start. Balasore has so many talented sportspersons. Balasore district is champion in Odisha badminton. Players from Balasore get at least three to four medals every year in State championships. But the district does not have an indoor stadium,” said Manoranjan Panda, secretary of Balasore Chess & Badminton Association.

Meanwhile, Balasore Sadar MLA has assured that the Indoor Stadium built at ITI Chowk will be opened soon and sports equipment will be provided.

“The works of Biju Patnaik indoor hall in Balasore have been completed. There were some errors in work, which are being inspected by PWD and other agencies. We had conducted an experimental badminton tournament there recently. All the players have heaped praise on the facilities in the indoor hall,” said Balasore Sadar MLA Swarup Kumar Das.