Height of folly: The raised badminton court at Mohan Ahuja Stadium is peril personified when under the welcome carpet. Picture by Bhola Prasad
There are harmful secrets that lie hidden under the carpets of Mohan Ahuja Stadium — truths that can make you take a tumble.
A wooden badminton court, slightly raised than its two sister facilities at the sporting hub, is fast becoming a cause of concern for the Jharkhand Badminton Association (JBA), whose many players have injured themselves while hopping turfs.
The stadium, which is also one of the city’s most sought-after venues for social gatherings too, is owned by Tata Steel and is leased out to JBA.
The facility has three badminton courts and the height of one was raised by JBA, probably to prevent water from a nearby ladies washroom from soaking the surface. The three courts are right in front of a wooden stage, which doubles up as a dais during social gatherings when the floor is laid out with carpets.
“The guests at these functions often do not feel anything while walking across two of the courts. It is only when they make their way to the third court that they stumble, fall and get injured. The courts are all hidden under carpets during functions and, hence, people are not able to fathom the difference in height,” a staff at the stadium told The Telegraph.
Jamshedpur-based singer Seema Bangobas also does not have a fond experience of the JBA facility where she hosted a gathering on December 10 last year.
“I remember, more than 10 guests, including my nephew and niece, took a tumble while making their way to the dais that day. It was such an embarrassing moment for me. My nephew sprained his ankle, while my niece ended up with a fractured leg and had to be taken to Tata Main Hospital. The JBA charged me Rs 25,000 for the venue, but was least bothered about our safety and the inconvenience we suffered,” Bangobas said.
She suggested that the custodian of the stadium should either reduce the height of the third badminton court or raise the height of the other two to avoid a rerun of such incidents.
JBA secretary K. Prabhakar Rao said he was aware of the inconvenience being caused to people hiring the facility for social gatherings. “If there is a problem, then we will definitely look into the matter and sort it out,” he promised.
Rao, however, also came up with a bizarre defence. “We laid concrete and rubber beneath the wooden court in 2009. But then, we had no idea that it could become a peril for shuttlers and visitors,” he said.
Prodded as to why the heights of the remaining two courts were not being increased, Rao cited lack of funds. “Increasing the height will mean setting up two new courts altogether. We are grappling with cash crunch and do not have Rs 8-9 lakh for new courts in our coffers,” he added.
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