Unable to provide parks to children in the cluttered hill city, the Municipal Corporation is hell bent upon shutting down a cricket academy that budding cricketers have taken to with a frenzy, only to settle political scores.
Not long ago, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had been pushing the Shimla Municipal Corporation to setting up parks and playing areas for children.
Much protesting and contesting went into the cause before an activist court finally got to have big plans drawn up and budgets spelled out, but nothing has come up on the ground.
In between, rightly or wrongly, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) took over a broken down ground that the government or the municipal corporation had not been able to repair and restore for more than three decades and set up a cricket academy after making much investment into it, thereby adding to the city’s deficient sporting infrastructure.
The ‘Rights’ or the ‘Wrongs’ of HPCA in starting the cricket academy at the old Lal Pani ground could and should be contested in the courts but the hyperactive MC authorities have gone into overdrive by planning to close all access to the academy ground and deny the aspiring cricketers the only such infrastructure available in the city.
Surely it is not the interest of the young players that the Municipal Corporation has in its mind for it in no way can provide an alternative facility for them.
Such negativity lets nothing worthwhile come up and the city infrastructure continues to languish.
Accessing schools, offices and hospitals is getting more difficult by the day; the parks, badminton and tennis courts, grounds and glades that the British colonizers created to make Simla the best municipality in the country have all been encroached upon and vandalized.
The Shimla municipal authorities have argued that the Cricket Academy is an illegal structure and has come up without due approvals from the town planners but so have many other structures and prominent buildings that are standing in blatant violation of the city’s building laws.
The most prominent building constructed in violation of the state building laws being the Himachal Pradesh High Court building itself.
And not to count the Congress Party Office building and several other government and private buildings, which includes several clusters also.
Some weaker individuals, who have built unauthorized structures, have been denied water and electricity connections but the more powerful ones continue to draw upon the MCs civic services without blinking an eyelid.
It’s certainly not a friendly match between the administrators of the cricket academy and the MC authorities being played out there.
On a little higher level, it’s the same game at play over the Dharmshala cricket stadium and the state government authorities.
Frustrated with not being able to create something as symbolically representative of Himachal Pradesh as the Dharmshala Cricket stadium, the powers that be are hell bent upon damaging and destroying an asset that many international players have testified as one of the most scenic grounds in the world.
But petty politics must prevail for the system is obsessed with it.
Any illegality needs to be contested legally not with the brute power of authority. But the powers that be seem intent to crush, destroy and damage, by all means any good work that may have been done by a political rival.