| Youngsters practise their hockey moves near Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das |
Cuttack, June 15: The state government’s decision to move a hockey hostel from Cuttack to Sundargarh has sparked widespread resentment among people from different quarters. Many sports lovers believe that with this move, youngsters in the coastal region of the state will no longer be able to get quality training in the game.
The government has taken the decision in a bid to provide hockey players with better facilities at one place. Along with the hostel, training facilities for hockey currently available in Cuttack at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium will also move to Sundargarh. The two other hockey hostels run by the state government are also in Sundargarh.
Protesting against the move of the directorate of sports and culture, the Cuttack Banchao Committee has threatened to launch an agitation.
Many sport lovers believe that the decision might spell disaster for hockey in the coastal region of the state.
“There is a conspiracy to shift the hockey sports hostel from Cuttack to Sundargarh. It will certainly have an adverse impact on the development on the game, as a lot of youngsters from the coastal areas undergo training here,” said Cuttack Banchao Committee president Subhash Singh.
Singh told newspersons that the 32-bed hockey sports hostel had been established at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in 1995 to impart training to budding players. Every year, five to six players from the hostel find a berth in the national hockey team.
“Besides hockey, efforts are also on to shift the gymnastics hostel to Puri. The hockey coach has already been transferred to Sundargarh,” Singh said. The Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium is a training centre with hostel facilities. The stadium has a turf where students are imparted training.
Another organisation, Hockey Odisha, has also protested against the move and submitted a memorandum to chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
“Instead of creating more facilities and infrastructure to popularise the game by setting up more hostels in different parts of the state, efforts are being taken to concentrate our national game at one place,” said Hockey Odisha secretary Pratap Satpathy.
There are three hockey hostels run by the state government — the sports hostel at Cuttack, Panposh (in Sundargarh district) and Sundargarh.
Sports secretary Saswat Mishra said the decision to move the hostel was aimed at providing better facilities and concentrating them at one place. The other two centres are also in Sundargarh.
“As international standard facilities cannot be provided at different places, there are plans to shift the hockey hostel and gymnastics hostel from Cuttack to Sundargarh and Puri respectively. The aim is to enable development of the games at one location,” said Mishra. He said Sundargarh had better infrastructure for hockey as it had special facilities including astroturf, a special surface on which hockey is played.