The TAC ground in Puducherry, one of the most sought after places for sporting as well as fitness enthusiasts, is in dire need of proper upkeep.
Children and sports personalities complained that the ground’s condition had worsened without proper maintenance. The surface had become uneven with garbage strewn about everywhere and an overgrowth of bushes covering a part of the land.
Raghav, who frequents the ground during weekends to play cricket, said people littered all over the place without any care for the consequence. “Recently, my friend hurt himself when he stepped on a broken liquor bottle. We have to be very careful while running in the ground. That’s the condition of the ground now,” he said.
According to Christy Starina, a resident living near the ground and who had won three silver medals at the Masters National Athletic Championships, the TAC ground cannot be used by athletes as its condition has worsened. Ms. Christy, who is set to represent the nation at the Asian Masters Meet, scheduled to be held in the Philippines in October, said the Indira Gandhi Sports Stadium was closed for practice because of construction activity.
“I have to travel to Chennai for my training because of the lack of facility here. The condition of the TAC Ground is getting worse by the day. After 6 p.m., fringe groups use this place for drinking and leave behind liquor bottles and other garbage. The gates are always open and stray cattle come in leaving the ground messy. The authorities should take steps to either clean and maintain the ground or transform it as a grass track,” she said.
R. Veeramani, who plays with his friends during the evenings, said at any given time there would be at least 100 people at the ground. During weekends, the ground is almost always crowded, he said, adding that there was not a single toilet or water tap on the ground. “There is a public tap on the roadside. The surroundings of the tap have become very untidy, so people avoid taking water from there,” he charged.
According to a retired bureaucrat residing in the locality, youngsters throng the ground for sporting activities. Earlier, there was a running track used widely by athletes, but it has gotten silted over the years. “It is important to encourage sporting activities to wean away young adults from getting into the habit of drugs and liquor. The ground could be developed under constituency development funds of parliamentarians and legislators,” he noted.
Principal of the Tagore Government Arts and Science College, Sasi Kanta Dash, said the issue of the maintenance of the ground was taken up with the Higher Education and Public Works Departments. “Upon receiving my representation, sent around two years ago, the then Education Secretary had inspected the ground. From our side, we will take up the issue with the officials to carry out maintenance work once again,” he added.