'Where shall we play cricket?': Local youth protest conversion of Polo Ground into synthetic turf

Local Youth Protesting in Pologround: Pic | Aman Farooq/GK

Scores of local youth on Sunday staged a protest against the J&K State Sports Council over its decision to convert two fields of Polo Ground Srinagar into synthetic turf.

The youth hailing from Maisuma, Dal Gate, Abi Guzar and adjoining areas assembled at Polo Ground today morning and stopped the work undertaken by Sports Council.

“Sports Council wants to convert two fields of Polo Ground into Synthetic Turf for Hockey and Rugby which is grave injustice with thousands of local youth who play cricket and football on these fields. Every day on an average hundreds of youth play at the ground,” said a local who was part of the protest.

These are historical fields that have given J&K a number of star cricketers and footballers,” he said, asking: “where would the local youth and children play in case the field is converted into synthetic turf for hockey and Rugby.”

Another local player who was part of the protest said that very few people play rugby or hockey in the city central area and for their sake Sports Council can’t snatch this valuable asset from locals.

“It is not about professional players or teams. It is about therights of local youth and children. Where will they go and play if you go and convert every field into a synthetic turf,” he asked.

When contacted, Secretary Sports Council, Dr Naseem Javed Chowdhary said that he is aware of the issue and will try to find a solution.

He said that the project has already been sanctioned and the work can’t be stopped. “

“If they (protesters) don’t allow the work to go on then we won’t be able to lay the turfs. I told them (protesters) that we can turn Central Polo Ground into a cricket turf where they can play cricket,” said Chowdhary.