Almost a year after its completion, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan officially inaugurated the Rs 23 crore District Sports Complex at Dharavi on Saturday.
The inauguration had its side effects too -- traffic jams, no auto rickshaws or taxis to reach the venue for almost an hour, and heavy downpour -- making it difficult for anybody who was travelling within the Bandra (East) locality. To add it to their woes, the the ‘Dharavi Bachao Andolan’ led by former MLA Baburao Mane, staged a protest ahead of the inauguration of the complex waving black flags.
Built on a 12,430 square metre plot, the sports complex has facilities for outdoor and indoor games that include a 200-metre track, a 340-seat auditorium, a multi-purpose hall for table tennis, badminton, gymnastics, boxing and taekwando. Space has been allotted for two volleyball courts, a basketball court and two key grounds, each for indigenous games such as kabaddi and kho-kho. Also, swimming and diving pools of 25 and 15 metre length have been designed to take care of aquatics at the junior and school level. The three-storied structure will also house rest rooms, dressing rooms and other facilities for sportspersons and officials. The complex has been named after former Prime Minister, the late Rajiv Gandhi.
Both, Chavan and Youth Welfare Minister Padmakar Valvi were clear that the venue won’t be rented out for weddings. “As this is a sports complex, the place shouldn’t be rented out for wedding purposes just to generate revenue for maintaining the complex premises. The sports ministry and the state government will ensure that we take care of the maintenance expenses,” said Valvi.
Chavan said, “On the inauguration day any new structure looks swanky. But maintaining it in the longer run is no mean feat. I hope that we develop the right kind of approach to sustain the structure in the longer run for the benefit of sportspersons.”
The blame game
in April, MiD DAY had reported how the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) hadn’t handed over the sports complex to the District Sports Authority (DSA) even 10 months after its completion.
The DSA wanted MMRDA to furnish the entire complex and also provide sports equipments. DSA official N B Mote said, “There was work going on in the premises. MMRDA handed over the sports complex to us only in April this year. Also, we didn’t get the Occupation Certificate hence the delay in the inauguration. And we never asked the MMRDA to provide us with any sports equipments. “
MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar, meanwhile, had a different version to the story. He said, “We handed over the complex to the DSA six months ago. Even, the necessary Occupation Certificate for the sports complex was given in March this year. We provided them with the facilities they had suggested.