My attention has been drawn to the news item which came out in this news portal regarding the damage caused to the College of Veterinary Science Multi-purpose Playground at Khanapara by activities other than sports, academic or agricultural.
It is indeed a fact that no one can den, that there has been much damage to the ground. The ground was developed by the Assam Agricultural University (AAU) for various activities including sports, academic and also to promote agriculture. As a part of societal responsibility, there is a provision where the University rents out the ground for various activities. The University is quite aware about the scarcity of playground, or to say any kind of ground, in the city. So to accommodate this shortage, the University allows the ground to be used for other activities than those mentioned above.
The University is proud to be associated with functions organized during the visits of our Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. The AAU takes pride in the various functions organized in the play ground by the district administrations viz. Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations. Though the University would like to restrict the use of the playground to promote only sports, academic and agriculture, the University officials are pragmatic enough to understand that it would be foolhardy to refuse to demands other than those mentioned.
Frequent use of the ground by various organizations has taken its toll on the ground. Constant temporary constructions, digging of the earth, unplanned filling of soil, lying of Block bricks, etc, have left the ground unfit for sports activities. I understand the outburst of emotions by various sports loving individuals and organizations for the damage caused to the ground. But I can assure you, it was never the intension of the University Authority to blame anyone for the fate of the ground. This news portal’s keen interest in the proper uptake of the playground is highly appreciated. It is a fact if the news portal had not brought the issue to the public, we would not have debated today about the playground.
The present BJP Government in Assam, led by Sarbananda Sonowal, is promoting sporting activities in the state, and has contemplated to develop the State capital as sports hub of the country. It is indeed a very novel gesture on the part of the Chief Minister. The people of Northeast India by and large are sports loving people. We appreciate sports and respect our sports man. This gesture of the Chief Minister has touched the core of the heart of each and every person in Assam. If we are really serious of promoting sports and desirous to make the city as sports hub, in particular, than we should not only protect our playgrounds but create more such grounds so that any would be Ronaldo or Tendulkar can have an access to it.
Pritam Mohan is a professor at Assam Agricultural University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org