Set among a dozen educational facilities near Lawspet Heliport, an indoor multi-purpose hall built with the aim of training young school and college talent in indoor sports has lain largely unused for three years .
The huge complex – with a visitor gallery that can accommodate around 750 people, a facility to host indoor games, such as volleyball, basketball, shuttle badminton, handball, karate and kabaddi – was constructed under the Centre’s Urban Sports Infrastructure Program in 2018. The complex was constructed using central aid of ₹6 crore and ₹1 crore from the Government of Pondicherry.
The facility was opened to the public with great fanfare in a ceremony attended by former Vice President Mr. Venkaiah Naidu. Nearly four years after its inauguration, the indoor venue remains off-limits to sports fans largely due to official apathy to provide additional facilities specific to sporting events.
“It is a colossal waste of public money. The huge facility remained closed until two months ago. For the past few weeks, a dozen students have been practicing Kho-Kho and weightlifting. Otherwise, no training is organised. The facility remains largely unused,” said a government-approved trainer.
For some time after the inauguration, students at the school received basketball training, but after the faculty left their jobs, the program was discontinued. Lack of activity and lack of maintenance have resulted in the growth of thick vegetation on the site. The surroundings of the room look very messy, he said.
G. Kathiresan, secretary of the Rajiv Gandhi Friends Sports Club, said there was a lot of excitement among sports fans in the union territory when the indoor hall was built. But as the days passed, the excitement turned to disappointment as the facility remained closed, he said.
“The complex would have been of great help for students from economically poor backgrounds to train in indoor sports. The installation is of no use in this state. The lack of planning has resulted in this situation,” he added.
A senior official said the government was working on ways to revive the facility and provide indoor sports training. In addition to the creation of certain additional facilities, including the parquet floor, the appointment of coaches must be made. The Ministry of Education was looking into these issues, he said.
The government was also devising ways to involve private actors in the day-to-day running of the facility, he added.