Bhubaneswar: Resenting government's move to close down the swimming pool complex in Kalinga Stadium for indefinite period, swimmers, players, hostel inmates and other users staged a dharna on stadium premises today demanding immediate withdrawal of the notification.
Resentment brewed among professional swimmers and sportspersons after the Sports and Youth Affairs department issued a notice on the matter. It said, "As per the decision of Sports and Youth Services Department, all activities in the Swimming Pool Complex would be ceased with effect from 20/09/2017 until further orders for complete renovation of the complex."
Swimmers said the government will take around seven or eight months to come up with a new one. "My career would be affected with the decision of the Sports department. If I fail to practice for two or three days, I would suffer a lot. I can't think about my future after the notification," said Pratyasa Ray, a professional swimmer.
Her parents also got frustrated. “She has no option but to quit the sport. I had a dream to make her an international level swimmer. But my dream has become bleak. How can a swimmer suffer for more than six months unlike other sportspersons?" her mother said with anger and frustration.
Another user and a High Court lawyer Santosh Mohapatra observed the government’s decision is undemocratic."Without thinking about the swimmers of national and international standards, how can the government issue a closure notice. Now, what will those persons do who have paid for the pool in advance? Decision to close down the swimming complex without making any alternate arrangements for the sportspersons is undemocratic," Mohapatra added.
Meanwhile, MP Tathagat Satpathy also expressed displeasure over fresh notification and suggested the government should maintain it through a Public Private Partnership.
It may be mentioned, a diving pool was also built at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore in 2008 at the stadium, which is yet to be functional.