YSR, during his tenure as Chief Minister, had issued GO to allocate 25 acres near Moinabad
The fate of the proposed world-class polo academy near Moinabad continues to hang in balance four years after the then Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy saw to it that a Government Order was issued to allocate 25 acres of land.
Yet, the file is stuck in the bureaucratic maze over the years at various levels, rues Siraj Attari, Steward, Indian Polo Association.
“It is very unfortunate that all our efforts to start the academy in Hyderabad, which is known for its rich history in polo, are being thwarted. Corporate groups have evinced interest in the academy on the lines of MRF Pace Foundation,” he claims. If the original project is cleared, it will mean that Hyderabad will have the biggest ever polo academy in the country.
“Unless, the powers that be take the initiative, we cannot move forward. Our endeavour is to promote and popularise the sport making it accessible to the average fan and wipe out the image that it is a game only for kings,” says Mr. Attari.
There has also been a delay in allotment of 12 acres of land promised by the government at Vattinagulapally in return for having taken over the AP Riding Club situated at Masab Tank. The stables at Masab Tank are more than 100 years old and in fact it should be declared a heritage building. Instead, the government plans to pull down the existing buildings to construct government offices, he says.
“It was a veterinary hospital for the African Cavalry Guards till the 1920s and was later given by the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan to his son Prince of Berar who started the Golconda Polo Club (subsequently rechristened A.P Riding Club). A museum of vintage cars, paintings and pictures of the princely Hyderabad State and history of the African Cavalry Guards will be an apt tribute to a family which encouraged polo so much,” says Mr. Attari.
He himself is going ahead with setting up a Polo Club at the historic Falaknuma Palace having nearly 100 stables.
“We will have the polo arena under floodlights soon with support from the Taj Group. Other plans include setting up riding clubs at Secunderabad Club and Bison Polo Grounds,” he reveals.
Mr. Attari has even met Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on the twin pending issues and is hopeful of a positive outcome.
Polo was said to have been first played in Hyderabad in 1876 and at one time it had 20 polo grounds including the Fateh Maidan grounds which is now the Lal Bahadur Stadium.