Youths protest curb on cricket at ground

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Work on a track for athletes is under way on the Gopalapuram playground.
Work on a track for athletes is under way on the Gopalapuram playground.

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: A group of youngsters staged a protest on Conran Smith Road after staff at the Gopalapuram Corporation ground refused them permission to play cricket on Sunday. This is the second incident related to restrictions on playing cricket in the city in recent months. The first one resulted in a ban on the game on the service lanes at the Marina beach. The trouble on Sunday was also an offshoot of the lack of space for playing cricket in the city.

Chennai Corporation officials said that work was on to construct a running track on the Gopalapuram playground.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Royapettah) P. Vasantha Kumari said that around 10.30 a.m. more than 100 youngsters attempted to stage a ‘dharna’ on Conran Smith Road following an argument with the ground staff. “The staff had merely cautioned them as portions of the playground have been dug for the athletic trackshe said.

A group of boys, however, said that only a few persons were allowed to play in the morning. Trouble began after a cricket team comprising young men arrived later and got into an argument with the staff at the gate, they said.

Senior officials of the civic body reached the spot and pacified the youngsters and informed them that the work of laying a 400-m runners track was in progress. Chennai Corporation sources said that apart from the work on the athletic track, the basketball and volleyball courts at the playground were also being renovated, at a total cost of Rs.34 lakh.

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