Abbottabad’s hockey stadium turns into parking lot, waste dumping site

October 30, 2018

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Heaps of earth dumped in the hockey stadium. — Dawn
Heaps of earth dumped in the hockey stadium. — Dawn

ABBOTTABAD: Due to negligence of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Sports, some portion of the Hockey Stadium Abbottabad has been turned into a parking area while the rest is filled with heaps of earth and waste of an under-construction plaza of the tehsil municipal administration.

Now there is no available space for the players to play the game and no initiative is being taken by the local sports officer or by the sports directorate to make the hockey ground in playable condition again. The stadium was built in 1988.

The AstroTurf is now rolled in parts and a small portion is being used by the students of a madaressah for playing football and cricket.

The stadium was partially damaged as a nullah adjacent to it swelled, inundating the ground two years ago. The sports directorate had allocated Rs12.4 million for repair of the damaged portion of AstroTurf and construction of a retaining wall along the nullah.

Repair of damaged seats and construction of main pavilion was also part of the project, but only the retaining wall along the nullah was constructed by the contractor who had been paid the full amount.

Surprisingly, the local sports officer allowed the contractor of the TMA plaza to dump waste in the ground with the consent of the local hockey officials who were taking the plea that the federal government had sanctioned the blue turf to be laid there.

They argued that a fresh basement would be prepared for laying of the new AstroTurf which would be affixed at least one to two feet above the current surface.

It may be noted that when the first AstroTurf was laid at least four-foot base was prepared under the supervision of Pakistan Hockey Federation experts.

It should be noted that the hockey stadium was one of the best in KP, where national team’s camps were held on several occasions. The stadium also hosted national, divisional and local level hockey tournaments.

The game lovers hope that after construction of the retaining wall along the nullah and fixing of the damaged portion of the turf the stadium would once again be an attractive place for hockey lovers.

They have appealed to Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, who also remained the sports minister during the PTI’s previous government in the province, to pay special attention to maintenance of the stadium.

Published in Dawn, October 30th , 2018