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PESHAWAR, May 20: The multi-million Hayatabad Sports Complex, Peshawar, has been turned into a commercial centre, depriving the residents of much-desired sports and recreation facilities.

The City Management Development Department (CMDD), which looks after the venue, converted the sports complex’s swimming pool into a wedding hall, whereas the Nazim of Town-3 occupied the squash complex and established its offices there. An NGO also encroached upon the gymnasium and has been running electronics workshops and computer centre for the last six years.

The master plan of the Hayatabad township provides for sports and other recreation facilities for the residents of this posh locality, who can not help but set up health clubs in their homes as the concerned authorities have exposed itself by converting the sports venue into a business centre.

The defunct Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) constructed the Hayatabad Sports Complex at a cost of Rs 162.19 million, sprawling over 696,960 square feet. The complex was equipped with facilities including enclosures, hockey, cricket, football grounds and other indoor game facilities. A sum of Rs 29.50 million had been spent on the squash complex, with 750 seating facilities which is still incomplete.

Official sources revealed that the government had stopped work on the squash complex following reports that substandard material had been used. A departmental inquiry had been ordered in this regard.

The pathetic condition of the sports complex is an ample proof of the mismanagement. Its infrastructure has been ruined. Enclosures with broken fans and furniture present a dismal picture and the building has been subjected to vandalism, despite the fact that the management has deputed staff for its supervision and maintenance. The doors, windows and toilets have been totally damaged.

The bad days of the complex started when the management of the PDA - now replaced by the CMDD - leased out the gymnasium to a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) to maintain its teaching classes and workshops.

Subsequently, the government of Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi gave the complex’s swimming pool on lease for 33 years to a private party. Recently the Nazim Town-3 Yaseen Khan Khalil occupied the squash court.

A private party, first established a restaurant in the swimming pool premises and then converted it into a wedding hall. Ironically, the PDA had constructed a double-storeyed multi- purposes community centre in the township at a cost of millions of rupees, but the building is still lying unoccupied.