STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: Chief Justice of J&K High Court Justice Gita Mittal on Friday treated a petition filed by Ex-Ranji Player Prof. (Dr.) Ashutosh Sharma challenging use of M.A Stadium Jammu exclusively for cricket as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and directed the Registry to list the same as per roster. The former Ranji Player/Retd. Physical Director from J&K Higher Education Department has sought directions to the President J&K Sports Council, Commissioner/ Secretary Youth Services and Sports, and Secretary J&K State Sports Council to allow all sports activities of various disciplines in newly renovated Maulana Azad Stadium, Jammu and not to restrict its use for cricket only. The petitioner has also sought the directions for utilizing the M.A. Stadium Jammu for cricket during cricket season and simultaneously the stadium be thrown open for other sports disciplines like Athletics, Football, Hockey, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho and various other warming up activities which were going on in the aforesaid stadium ever since its establishment. In the petition filed today through Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed, it was submitted that M.A. Stadium Jammu was established about six decades back with the object to promote multi-discipline sports activities including Cricket and was branded as a Multipurpose Stadium. “Apart from Cricket, the sportspersons of various other disciplines used this Stadium and it is the only stadium in Jammu City which is catering to the needs of thousands of players’, he submitted.
It was highlighted in the petition that recently Govt. of J&K decided to renovate M.A Stadium for holding international events/matches of cricket thereby depriving the players of other games from using the stadium without first creating/ establishing adequate alternate infrastructure for other disciplines thus causing immense loss to the youngsters who are huge in number from various games and are exploiting their talent in various games from the M.A. Stadium.
It is further stated in the petition that presently the players are not allowed to enter the stadium and there is a reasonable apprehension amongst the players from various games including the various Sports Associations that after completion of the renovation work the players of other games will not be allowed to enter and utilize M.A. Stadium and its facilities for promotion of their sports. “The apprehension of the players is quite genuine as the funds worth crores of rupees are being spent and those undertaking renovation are openly claiming that the Stadium is being renovated on international standards for holding national/international cricket matches and no other Sports activity will be allowed to be undertaken from M.A. Stadium, Jammu”, the petitioner submitted.
It was also stated in the petition that M.A Stadium is located in the heart of Jammu City where there is acute traffic congestion and there is no adequate space for parking lots and for creating other recreational facilities of international standard like in International Cricket Stadiums viz. Eden Garden, Wankhade Stadium, Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Dharamshala Cricket Stadium and Mohali Stadium etc. “It is thus abundantly clear that from M.A. Stadium the cricket matches of domestic tournaments are possible but it is not possible to hold International matches and it will not be in the interest of other sports to block the stadium for rest of the disciplines. In the M.A. Stadium Complex various other games like Boxing, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Badminton, Gymnastic, Judo, Swimming, Roller Skating, Wushu, Fencing, etc are being played and their infrastructure is established accordingly and the coaches employed by J&K Sports Council imparts coaching/training to the budding players and except M.A. Stadium Complex there is no other place in Jammu for the above referred games”, the counsel of the petitioner submitted. It was also submitted in the petition that in the M.A. Stadium Complex the Jammu Club has also been established which is also catering to the various needs of sports lovers.
In the petition, it was submitted that the petitioner served a comprehensive Legal Notice on April 8, 2019 upon the President J&K Sports Council, Advisor concerned, Commissioner/Secretary Youth Services and Sports and Secretary J&K State Sports Council requesting them not to restrict the use of newly renovated M.A. Stadium for cricket only and to allow other disciplines in the stadium till adequate infrastructure is created in Jammu City for other games. This notice did not evoke any response and the petitioner has been left with no other option except to knock the doors of High Court, the counsel of the petitioner submitted.
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