Under construction sports building turns into ‘drug den’
Students bunk classes to consume drugs, authorities unaware
Srinagar, July 21: An under construction building of sports stadium at Polo Ground has turned a safe haven for drug peddlers especially the students of different educational institutes who bunk their classes to consume drugs. Also the non-local beggars are using the place to consume drugs of different sorts.
Located at the heart of Srinagar city the stadium is aimed to give a further impetus to the indoor sports activities but the government’s inattentiveness has turned it into a drug den.
Before filing this report Rising Kashmir kept an eye over the happenings inside the under-construction stadium for over a week and observed that during daytime students from various schools and colleges bunk their classes only to consume drugs and alcohol inside the abandoned building.
Anees Ahmad, a young volleyball player who was waiting for his friend outside the stadium said that everyday students from various institutions can be seen visiting the place to consume drugs, mostly in the afternoon. “Sometimes they can be even seen lying unconscious on the floor,” he said.
The place located in the city centre has become safe haven for the drug peddlers.
"If such things continue, Kashmir will soon become another Punjab where drugs have destroyed the social fabric to a large extent,” said Ahmad adding that it was matter of concern for the whole Kashmir.
The foundation of abandoned building was laid five years ago.
The rooms of the under-construction stadium building are filled with small alcohol tins, cough syrups, half-burnt cigarettes filled with cannabis, injection needles and other such things.
While collecting information for this report, two men present there were consuming alcohol. They threatened to kill the reporter if he did not leave the place immediately.
A local resident, Nazir Ahmad who often visits the ground along with his friends said the stadium has turned into a ‘training centre’ for the drug peddlers.
“During evening non-local beggars also throng the site as the area becomes deserted after sunset,” he said.
Ahmad alleged that there is a nexus between the drug peddlers and the users. The buyer goes to the peddler, places the order, gives money and then consumes it there, he said.
“On one side government is promoting sports to curb drug abuse in the valley but on other part they have abandoned such buildings, which become safe haven for the drug peddlers,” he said.
According to a senior official at Youth Services and Sports Department wishing anonymity said they don’t have enough funds to complete the project. The building has missed several deadlines since last five years.
“Out of Rs 5 crore earmarked for the project only Rs 1.5 crore has been released so far and from last two years not a single penny has been disburse by the government,” the official said.
The work on project was started on November 27, 2013 after its foundation stone was laid by the then Minister for Medical Education, Youth Services and Sports, Taj Mohi-ud-Din.
Commissioner Secretary Youth Service and Sports, Sarmad Hafeez told Rising Kashmir that the work on stadium would be started soon as it was placed under the languishing projects category.
"Now the department has got approval and the construction over the stadium will be completed very soon," he said.
Hafeez said he has no information about usage of drugs inside building.
He assured that the department will investigate the matter and if such thing is found they will inform the police.