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Sign campaign to save ground

Sign and save.

A group of BJP workers, led by local party leader Pranav Kumar Babbu, launched a signature campaign in front Mahatma Gandhi’s statue near chief minister Hemant Soren’s residence in Ranchi to save Morabadi Ground.

Protesting against any sort of encroachment — be it construction or plantation — Morabadi Maidan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti convener Babbu said that it was once known as the biggest public ground in unified Bihar. “But, construction and plantation drives have eaten up on the open spaces, leaving no place to practice for the budding sportsmen of the state,” he added.

The protesters collected 300 signatures on Day I. “The campaign will continue for the next few weeks. Thereafter, we will resort to dharna and also approach the judiciary, if need be,” said Babbu.

“Over 70 per cent of the open spaces available here have been encroached upon. Two stadiums, a sports authority office, a park, power substation and water tower have come up, shrinking the playing area for youngsters. To add to their woes, innumerable plantation drives have further reduced the open spaces,” Babbu added.

Over 500 children practise here. “Our skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Deepika Kumari are products of this field,” said the convener.

Babbu added that Ranchi was identified by two major landmarks — Morabadi Ground and the nearby Tagore Hill. “Hence encroachment of open spaces on Morabadi Ground was also an attack on city’s indigenous culture,” he signed off.