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Neglect ripples in new pool

Swimmer hopes have taken a deep dive in Ranchi.

A kidney pool, constructed with public money at Birsa Munda Football Stadium in Morabadi to offer amateurs and professionals a convenient facility to hone their water skills, has remained out of bounds for athletes apparently because the sports department hasn’t been able to launch a membership scheme.

The unnamed swanky swimming pool, which is the latest inclusion to Jharkhand’s lengthy list of floated-not-to-survive projects like the solar museum in the capital and vulture-breeding centre in Muta, was built by the Ranchi district administration some eight months ago.

The sports department provided Rs 1.5 crore for the project. And that is where perhaps it drew the line of its responsibilities.

According to a source in the district administration, the onus of taking a call on this swimming pool lay with the state department by virtue of it being the parent party. “The football stadium is under the sports department and the pool is in the same complex. Besides, funds came to the district administration from the department. The district administration was just an executing agency,” the official said.

Speaking to The Telegraph in the past, Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey had said he had proposed that the sports mandarins operate the pool on membership basis.

“It is a beautiful facility for swimmers. In fact, I took personal interest in getting the pool constructed properly. Then, we sent a proposal to the department, stating that the pool should be run on membership basis and the fee money used to maintain it round the year and ensure that users do not abuse the facility. Thereafter we haven’t heard anything from the sports department,” Choubey had said.

Contrary to the large number of reservoirs in and around Ranchi, the capital cuts a sorry figure when it comes to water sports or recreational options. In the swimming context, budding talents don’t have any option besides a government pool at the Jaipal Singh Munda Mega Sports Complex in Hotwar, which was constructed for the 34th National Games in 2011.

However, the said facility hasn’t had many takers either for two reasons. First, lack of proximity to the city. Second, improper planning at the level of the sports department, which throws open the pool only during its two-month swimming camp in summer. This is why the pool on Morabadi stadium premises would have been an oasis for swimmers had it made debut.

State sports director Dadan Choubey said he was unaware of any plan to get the pool operational. “The facility hasn’t been transferred under my jurisdiction until now. So, I don’t know much about it. The file is at the sports secretary level,” he added.


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