For budding cricketer Deepak Gupta (15) and his teammates, picking up rubbish instead of practising their cricketing strokes at Azad Maidan is now part and parcel of the game. Within a span of 10 days, they have had to clean up discarded paper plates, empty water bottles, and plastic covers from the Azad Maidan twice.
After the protest rally undertaken by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) yesterday, it was observed that party workers had left the entire ground in an unholy mess. This, despite repeated appeals by MNS leaders asking them to maintain tidiness after proceedings and exercise caution while treading on the cricket pitches.
As party workers did not bother to pick up their mess and dispose it in dustbins, U-16 players from a cricketing club were seen cleaning the ground and levelling cricket pitches after the herd had passed.
The U-16 cricketers from Macho Sports Club who religiously converge at the ground to better their cricketing skills are now questioning concerned authorities.
“Why do we always suffer? Every time there is some rally or morcha, the ground becomes dirty and we have to clean the ground,” said Gupta.
Adeem Usmani, another player who took the onus to clean the ground, said, “The government should not allow such gatherings here because this is a playground, and we have to practice here every day. There should be strict instructions for not using this ground.
And if they use it, they should also be given the responsibility to clean it.” The ground caretakers echoed their sentiments saying that the government should not allow political parties to conduct any gatherings on the ground. They claimed that the crowds always leave the grounds behind in a terrible mess, and it is the players and caretakers suffer.