Monday, July 4News That Matters

A letter to DC Baramulla from a cricket enthusiast

Respected DC Saab,
I hope you will be in good health when this letter reaches your office through the medium of this newspaper. I am sure you will spare a few minutes from your busy work schedule to read these lines before they pass into oblivion. I am writing this letter as a representative of hundreds of youths who feel deprived, disappointed, and depressed by the doings of local authorities. I am a resident of a scenic village named Doulathpora, located in tehsil Kreeri, 2 km away from the national highway and 5 km from the tehsil headquarters.
Doulathpora, i.e., village of wealth, is not only monetarily rich but educationally and intellectually rich, too. Our area has been blessed with a wealth of resources and good developmental infrastructure. Our ex-elected representative, MLA Sangrama Basharat Bukhari, staying true to his promise had been generous enough in allocating funds for building our infrastructure, be it in form of macadamised roads, water supply, playground, schools, good drainage system, and much more. But for the last few years, the name Doulathpora sounds like a misnomer, as whatever tangible developmental work had been done by the authorities is being smeared by the local authorities currently at the helm.
As I’m writing this letter on the behalf of local youth, our main grievance is the sad story of our cricket ground. Before I describe the dismal state of our playground, let me give a brief gist of the chequered history of this playground. Nearly two decades back, our village youth yearned to have a cricket and football playground; they kept on knocking at the doors of the authorities in charge of sports, but every time they had to return disappointed. Finally, they took the matter into their own hands and cut down walnut trees, illegally, in the darkness of the night on a patch of state land located on a steep plateau, surrounded on either side by a deep gorge, to make a playground for recreational purposes. Although this patch wasn’t fit for even local-level cricket, they gave it the name: ‘Kohinoor Cricket Ground’. Since then, the government has helped to increase the boundary of the playing field and work has been done by the sports authorities on it more than twice.
But being located on a steep height, our playground has never met the standard to qualify as ground fit for playing cricket. The players always face the problem of the terrain while playing, the ball ending up in the gorge whenever a batsman plays a big hit. The journey downhill to retrieve the ball drains all the energy out of the players. Due to this ordeal, the majority of local youths don’t turn up to play here any more.
In 2019, after the launch of the Khelo India scheme, the government started work to increase the playing field area and more than twenty lakhs of rupees were allocated for refurbishing the playground. For the first two months everything was going hunky dory and it seemed that the dream of a local cricket ground was turning into reality, but all of a sudden work was stopped and since then the project has been languishing. Whenever the authorities concerned are asked about the completion of work, they make the false promise that work will be started as soon as tomorrow! That tomorrow has never come till today.
The level of misappropriation of government funds can be gauged from the fact that work has not been completed but the plaque mentioning the completion of work has been erected by the people supervising the work. I am flabbergasted by approach of the rural development department, as everything is happening under their nose but they seem to be doing nothing and it appears that they are complicit in this act of negligence.
DC saab, I just want to remind you that the aim behind every government project is to create the best out of the good, but here the reverse seems to be unfolding as what was at least a good playing field has been turned into a rough patch of barren land fit for only dumping of garbage. I request your highness to please take the matter into your own hands by taking cognisance of the issue. I am sure you will hold all the people accountable who are responsible for this misdeed. Also, our officers like tehsildar and block development officer (BDO) should be held to account, as the main purpose of decentralisation was to make government available at the ground level, but they have failed to do so.
I am pleading to you for this because if you don’t help our youth, they are going to fall prey to bad habits and may get addicted to drugs and narcotics in the absence of anything better to do. I am hopeful that you won’t let the situation deteriorate to this level and will act as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,
The writer is a civil services aspirant and a passionate cricketer

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