Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra, the indoor sports facility next to the Eden Gardens, was inaugurated along with the neighbouring Netaji Indoor Stadium on January 23, 1975, by the then chief minister, S.S. Ray. It served as a practice facility for the table tennis world cup, held in the city that year.
The arena, which does not have galleries, has since hosted various sporting events, especially chess tournaments. If Bengal wins the right to host the National Games, the centre could host karate, badminton, table tennis and sepak takraw events. But is it in a condition to do so? Read on.
The first sight that greets someone walking into Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra is of bamboo poles lying dumped. The place is untidy with plastic bottles strewn around on the lawn.
A broken payphone, which has not been used for years going by the dirt on it, is fixed to a wall near the entrance.
The gymnastics apparatus, which were bought in the late-1970s, lie caked in dust in a corner of the main hall along with rejected items. Sacks of cement and bamboo poles have also been dumped in the hall. A torn towel hangs from a steel locker, even as a chess tournament for juniors is underway.
Wooden planks on the floor have worn off in some places. The cement flooring outside the playing area, too, is rough, as a result of attempts at patchwork that proved unsuccessful.
Athletes of the National Games obviously would not want to get injured playing on a surface like this but local sportspersons have no choice.
Inexplicably, there is no changing room for sportsmen and sportswomen in the complex. Dresses have to be changed in the corridor in front of the stinking toilet at two ends of the main hall.
These rectangular spaces are very dirty. There is, however, a “Coaches Dressing Room” on the premises.
Metro found cigarette butts, packs of potato chips, biscuit wrappers and polythene packets in one of the toilets.
A makeshift cubicle given to the West Bengal Chess Association infringes on the playing area.
“We are in charge of maintenance but the place belongs to the sports department. If they approach us with specific problems and the money for the renovation, we will surely take up the work,” said public works department minister Subrata Bakshi.