Washermen use the Jaipal Singh Stadium premises on Kutchery Road to dry clothes on Thursday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
There is hope for Ranchi’s dilapidated Jaipal Singh Stadium, which is set for a facelift after the capital’s civic guardians requested the state sports department to develop the long-neglected sporting infrastructure in the heart of the city.
Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) approached the sports department in the last week of April to develop the nine-acre complex named after hockey legend Jaipal Singh Munda. Built in 1978, the stadium has been languishing in neglect since.
The sports department, on its part, informally approached the Centre in June for possible funding for the revamp project.
“We want to set up a mini sports complex at Jaipal Singh Stadium with funds from the Urban Sports Infrastructure Development Scheme of the Centre. We presented our plan to the Centre a month ago,” said a sports department official who did not wish to be named.
The proposed mini sports complex, if approved, would boast infrastructure for lawn tennis, badminton, volleyball, basketball and a gymnasium.
Newly-appointed chief executive officer of RMC Dipankar Panda confirmed that steps were being taken to ensure proper infrastructure at the stadium.
“As the land is at present being used by some sports associations for practice, the civic body decided to ask the sports department to set up necessary infrastructure at the stadium. Hopefully, the department will follow up plans on a war-footing,” said RMC official Sunil Kumar.
Over the last few years, Jaipal Singh Stadium has gone through several turbulent phases. In 2007, the then urban development minister Raghubar Das proposed a shopping complex at the site, which was met with disdain by residents and sports lovers alike. However, a contract was awarded to a Delhi-based developer for the purpose, but the matter ended up in court in 2008 when newly-elected councillors opposed the plan and the disgruntled developer sued the government.
Another proposal to build a shopping complex and an indoor stadium at the spot also died a silent death.
Two days ago, sports lovers, residents and students joined hands and cleaned up the stadium — clearing the undergrowth that had covered the acres. Under the banner of Jaipal Singh Stadium Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, the group called on the civic body on Wednesday, urging a quick revamp of the stadium.
“For the last 10 years, we have been asking the state government to revamp the stadium. We are pleased to hear that our pressure on the civic body and the government is bearing fruit. But things should move soon,” said Bholanath Singh, secretary of Jharkhand Wrestling Association and convener of the citizens’ body.
According to the Urban Sports Infrastructure Development Scheme, the Centre can provide funds upto Rs 5 crore. However, as the estimate is likely to be way more, the sports department has also urged the Ranchi deputy commissioner to issue a no-objection certificate for using MP Area Development Fund of any parliamentarian.
“Though we have got a letter from RMC, we are still waiting for a no-objection letter from the Ranchi deputy commissioner. As soon as we get that, we will formally approach the Union sports and youth affairs ministry for funds,” said a state sports department official.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey, who himself had sent the letter regarding revamp of Jaipal Singh Stadium to the state sports department when he was CEO of RMC, said he was yet to get any letter from the sports department.
Will this plan put the stadium on the road to recovery?