The 30-acre prime land becomes a soft target
ELURU: The story of ASR Stadium, named after the legendary freedom fighter Alluri Sita Rama Raju, saddens sports lovers.
The stadium, which came up near the railway station in the heart of the city during the regime of late N.T. Rama Rao in the mid 80s, seemingly stands testimonial to public indifference and official apathy to sports
The sprawling 30 acres of prime land in which the stadium was built turns out to be a soft target for encroachers, interestingly for both private and government agencies.
The space of the stadium is getting gradually dwarfed on account of either encroachment by private people or by the government’s ‘largesse’.
The latest ‘dole-outs’ by the State government was a major chunk of land from the stadium premises for construction of the office of District Congress Committee (DCC), a multiplex by a private agency, an auditorium by a cultural organisation and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Bhavan. Besides, residential quarters for BSNL employees, Shadhi khana for Muslim Minorities were already built on the land earmarked for the stadium and sites were also allotted by the government for construction of the Excise and Prohibition department office and the office of the Society of Kolleru Displaced Fishermen.
Aptly, sky is only the limit for encroachments in the case of stadium as it does not have even a compound wall for protection.
Entry for women has been restricted at the practicing swimming pool, which forms part of the stadium, for want of women trainers.
The dilapidated condition of galleries raises security concerns for sports watchers.
The notice put up by the personnel of the District Sports Development Authority on the galleries speaks volumes for its precarious condition. The Collector forwarded a report to the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) more than a year ago seeking sanction of funds for undertaking repairs to the stadium with an estimated cost of Rs 4.5 lakh.
But it gathers dust in the SAAP since then in spite of several reminders from the authorities of the District Sports Development Office (DSDO). The stadium has a 400-metre athletic track, football, hockey and basketball grounds, besides a swimming pool.