Tennis courts lying unused, panel suggests opening govt school grounds for public


Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, January 14

While tennis courts that were opened at four government schools in association with the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association in 2013 to train young children are lying unused and are not being used for any sporting activity, the standing committee of the Administrator’s Advisory Council discussed the opening of government school grounds for public and five grounds for the Union Territory Cricket Association (UTCA), Chandigarh.

The standing committee, notably chaired by the UTCA president, proposed to open government school grounds for public and simultaneously to the association. Giving details of the meeting, which was held on Thursday, the standing committee chairman claimed that discussions were held regarding the Sports and Education Department considering the UTCA’s proposal of allocating grounds of five schools to the association and opening the grounds for public. While other sports associations barely get mention in such meetings, a handful of sports associations get a major boost to promote sports in Chandigarh, which is nothing new.

UT inked pact with Lawn Tennis Assn in 2013

In 2013, the UT Administration signed an MoU with the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) to train students of Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 23; GMSSS-16; GMSSS-33 and Government Model High School, Sector 41. The then UT Adviser KK Sharma had inaugurated the courts at Sector 23 in the presence of VK Singh, the then Finance-cum-Education Secretary, Subhash Chawla, the then Chandigarh Mayor, Rajan Kashyap, founder and life president of the CLTA (also former chairman, standing committee of the Administrator’s Advisory Council) and others.

Sharma had inaugurated the court by playing a friendly round with partner VK Singh against the other team comprising of former CLTA technical director Gajinder Singh and Kashyap. However, after years of wait, the courts were finally given back to the Education Department. Since then, the courts are lying unattended and unused.

Govt inefficient to use infra?

This is not the first time that suggestions were made to open government school grounds to the general public. However, it’s for the first time that suggestions were made to open grounds for a particular sports association. During the festival season, the Administration also uses school grounds for parking vehicles, but to date no decision had been made for the betterment of the existing sports infrastructure. The Administration had taken an initiative by cordoning off the boundary of these grounds with mesh wires. However, the purpose of cordoning off the area is still not clear. Apart from planning to outsource these government school grounds, the Administration has never thought of building its own infra to encourage government school students to perform. In the past, indoor complexes have been made on the land allotted to the Education Department, but the facilities were handed over to the Sports Department.

New deadline

Under discussion since 2012, the completion of the Chandigarh’s Sports Policy got a new deadline during the 7th internal meeting of the standing committee of the Administrator’s Advisory Council. During the meeting, it was discussed that the Sports Department will finalise the draft of the sports policy and the committee will meet in the first week of February to finalise the same and submit it to the Administration. It was also discussed to honour Khelo India Games participants, implement suggestions on having a sports museum in Chandigarh, updating sports mobile app, completion of synthetic track by March 2023 among others.