Facing a cash-crunch owing to rising maintenance costs, the Railway Board has identified 15 sports facilities across the country for “techno-economic studies for commercial development.”
In a letter addressed to the vice-chairman of the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) last month, the Railway Board confirmed entrusting 15 stadiums. All concerned Zonal Railway general managers are directed to furnish the relevant documents to the RLDA.
These facilities are, Railway Sports Complex in DLW (Varanasi), Chennai, Kolkata, Raebareli, Maligaon in Guwahati, Kapurthala and Secunderabad; Indoor Stadium at Parel in Mumbai and Patna, Railway Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Bahala in Kolkata and Mahalaxmi in Mumbai; Cricket Stadium at Yelahanka in Bengaluru and Lucknow; Gorakhpur Stadium in Gorakhpur.
Effectively, this move will see Railways selling off these facilities to private players thereby ending all sporting activities.
Last week, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) wrote to the chairman, Railway Board, protesting the move.
In a letter dated June 3, the AIRF pointed out that these Railway Sports complexes and stadiums/indoor stadiums were located in the heartland of the cities and were used by sportspersons and sports enthusiasts besides Railwaymen, both serving and retired.