State-of-the-art Squash Courts or Termite-Infested Godowns?
Posing as a contractor, NDTV caught on camera how 15 state-of-the-art squash court in New Delhi, that may have cost close to 25 lakh rupees to make, was lying in absolute ruins. It was termite infested, had pigeon holes, the back walls were broken and was filled with broken school furniture.
What do you say to 15 state-of-the-art squash courts in New Delhi being used as go downs and dumping yards for five Kendriya Vidyalaya schools? Pathetic. NDTV went undercover to expose this story of national shame in the Capital
Posing as a contractor, NDTV caught on camera how each squash court that may have cost close to 25 lakh rupees to make, was lying in absolute ruins. It was termite infested, had pigeon holes, the back walls were broken and was filled with broken school furniture.
The sports teacher in-charge (name withheld) further told us that no one had played in those courts for over 2 years that he's been in charge of sports in the KV branch. That's over 5 crores invested in the squash courts more than a decade ago going to waste. NDTV tried to get in touch with KV authorities as well as the Squash Racquets Federation of India on the issue but they not only refused to comment but dodged all attempts to meet or speak to us.
NDTV then contacted Rahul Kumar who had been running the only operational KV center for over 10 years. His facility was shut don't last year due to a trivial lease issue which he claims was all a result of red tapism. What's more, he's also a sports activist who's been fighting against the Squash Racquets Federation of India or the SRFI for many years now. He claims, "KV didn't have the expertise to run the squash programme and that's when the SRFI in and it was part of the National Junior development programme. Sadly the federation simply abandoned the project with the weirdest excuse as there wasn't commercially viable to run these centres. How can a national federation that's meant to promote a game look for a commercial interest?"
Sadly the impact of this tussle has been felt the most by school students, many of whom have left playing squash altogether. Arjun, aÂ 13-year old student, says, "We used to play free in our school but now my family cannot afford the 112 rupees-per-hour fee at any DDA pay-and-play facility. My friends and I try to find any big wall and we knock around on that."
Once our under cover story was aired, it's only then that the Squash Federation issued a statement. The statement reads 'The SRFI is indeed appalled to hear of the condition of these courts and is always willing to help in the promotion of the sport and in this case, if need be, suppling Squash Coaches to the KV Schools. The Promotion and development of Squash in the Country is definitely the primary concern of the SRFI'
A response that's come from the national squash federation 10 years too late! We ask- how can a national federation ignore facilities that could have churned out hundreds of champions by now? Certainly time to introspect on how the sport is being run in India; Ironically at a time that's being called as the Golden Era of Indian squash with India having won 4 medals, the most ever, at the 2014 Asian Games.