Pokhara Ground ill-prepared for upcoming South Asian Games

Published On: May 28, 2019 08:56 AM NPT By: DHAN BASNET

POKHARA, May 28: The work of readying sports infrastructure for the upcoming 13th South Asian Games (SAG) is in a sorry state, with only six months remaining for the mega event to be held in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Even the budget has not been allocated for reconstructing a major facility for the games. 

The works on the multi-purpose covered hall of Pokhara, where archery and other games are to be held, are yet to be completed. Sports authorities are waiting for budget allocation to start the remaining works. 

They have been pressing for immediate budget release and completion of works on the facility so that it is readied for the SAG that starts on December 1.

The Western Regional Sports Development Committee has asked Rs 9 million for reconstructing the covered hall. Chairman of the committee, Sampanna Shrestha, claimed that the remaining works for the ground to play archery will be done only after the budget is allocated for it.

If the budget is not allocated within July/August, hosting the game in Pokhara Stadium’s Archery Ground may not be possible. Mud has been placed inside the ground, and Kaski District Archery Association plans to level the ground and spread the mud to plant grass for the game. 
Sports authorities have said that four months will not be enough to prepare an international-level stadium. 

“We have asked Rs 9 million to prepare the ground for the games. It will be easier if we get the amount as soon as the current fiscal year ends,” Chairman Shrestha said. “At the moment, it remains to level the ground, smoothen the mud surface, and plant the grass.”

“We have to set the ground with turf if it gets late to plant the grass. We should not delay work on this, as the SAG is a matter of pride for the country,” Shrestha added. 

Kaski District Archery Association’s Chairman Yogendra Serchan estimated that the amount they have asked from the government -- Rs 9 million -- will be enough to prepare the ground. 

“If the required budget comes on time, we can finish all the works. It will be very hard to organize the games properly if the budget is delayed,” Serchan said. “Four months will be enough for us to smoothen the surface of the ground and do all the works related with the grass.”

The National Sports Council (NSC) has so far provided Rs 22.4 million in separate installments for the construction of the ground. However, the money has been used for truss training. The players have been practicing by keeping their targets in the truss when it rains. 

The covered hall, Nepal’s biggest, was in need of immediate reconstruction as it had not been used for a long time. The initial deal for the reconstruction of the hall was Rs 143 million, but an additional Rs 19.5 million has provided for the purpose. 

The false ceiling of the multi-purpose covered hall, prepared at an expense of Rs 162.5 million, has been ruined by frequent storms and rains. Some of the games have been planned to be played in the hall. The problem with the hall is that it produces loud echo, and the authorities say that it needs to be fixed to keep the disturbance at the minimum. Furthermore, the surface of the land is cemented, and there are no seats in the hall. 

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