Forsaken: A stadium at the mega sports complex
The lone stadium manager — handpicked to run and maintain the Jaipal Singh Munda Mega Sports Complex in Hotwar — is in exit mode, dealing a serious jolt to the jinxed world-class games infrastructure in Ranchi that hasn’t hosted any worthy meet since the National Games in 2011.
While the exact date when Maruti Thakur will put in his papers is not known, his subordinates confirmed that the senior official had decided to resign from his post sometime last week “completely frustrated with a laggard bureaucracy” and slo-mo pace of work.
Thakur — who has served as zonal and country head for various corporate majors — was hired in January last year and his contract was to be renewed this month. “But, he wasn’t interested (in getting a new contract). I don’t know why,” state sports director Ashok Kumar said, confirming an impending resignation in a roundabout way.
As a stopgap arrangement, sources said, retired district sports officer Sarwar Imam, who was handling the Panchayat Yuva Krida Khel Abhiyan (PYYKA) as an administrator, would be given additional charge of Hotwar.
Speaking to The Telegraph over phone on Monday, Thakur admitted that he had planned to quit, but accused the department of forcing him to do so. “I had applied for renewal of my contract, but various lobbies ensured that nothing happened in my favour. That is when I made up my mind to resign,” he said.
Revealing that he would soon join a new company as its country head, Thakur rued “lack of professionalism” in the department. “Nobody cares about sports here. So, the best thing is to return to my corporate career,” he added.
Incidentally, a month after Thakur was hired, the sports department had first mooted the idea to recruit managers for each of the nine stadiums at the mega sports complex in Hotwar, two stadiums in Morabadi and other auxiliary infrastructure such as guesthouses and galleries.
The purpose of having one manager for each facility was to ensure proper upkeep, devise utility plans and conduct stadium-specific games and training activities till the time the state succeeded in establishing a centre of excellence and a sports university.
The department began its recruitment process. However, the same was shelved soon thereafter for reasons best known to sports mandarins. In September, advertisements for stadium managers were once again floated and interviews too were held, but no one was recruited.
A well-placed source blamed lack of will and procedural gaffes for the drought. “The first interview was cancelled because a controversy brew over transparency in the hiring process. When the second round of interview began, several lobbies mushroomed to get their own candidates on board. Amid all this chaos, the objective sank into oblivion,” he said.
People close to Thakur reasoned that he was not satisfied with the way things worked here. “Sports was making no headway because of bureaucratic hurdles and snail-paced policy decisions. As the lone manager of the entire mega sports complex, he was overburdened too. Without him, the infrastructure at Hotwar will be orphaned,” said a junior official.
Sports director Kumar, however, put up a brave face. “Stadium managers will be finalised in a week’s time,” he promised. “We are trying to put things in order as soon as possible. Prospective candidates are under scrutiny to avoid further controversies,” he added.