Srinagar, Sept 13: Residents of Nawabagh and its adjoining areas including Amda Kadal and Lal Bazar have urged authorities to reconvert a park or at least part it for allowing sports activities to prevent local youth from the “scourge of the drugs and save their future.”

At least four religious and social organizations have made representation to authorities in favour of their demand for having sports ground as existed before “Cherry Park” come into existence.

“Around a decade ago, in an utterly unthought-of move, the then government converted one of the important Sports Grounds in the entire vicinity into a park which came to be known as Cherry Park, situated along the banks of Nigeen Lake, adjacent to the leper hospital Bagwanpora Lal Bazar Srinagar,” reads the representation made to the various government authorities by at least local Masjid and socio-religious organizations and committees.

Locally it was known as Nawabagh and people including the youth would frequent it for playing various kinds of sports, mostly cricket and football, they said.

“There used would to great enthusiasm, not only among the players engaged in competition on the ground but spectators who comprised youth, middle-aged and even elderly,” they said in the representation.

“In such a scenario, hardly any youth, out of sheer respect, would lit a cigarette, let alone indulge in the substance abuse,” they said.

Ever since the sports ground was converted into a park, they said, the entire matrix got changed.

“The youth, in absence of elderly watch, are largely getting attracted to drug abuse and have found the park as a haven for such activities,” they said.

The positive energies, they said, are waning down as “absence of sports activities have meant loss of the positive effect on individuals and societies the sports plays in many different ways.”

“The sport provide opportunities to play; have fun; compete; relieve boredom; cooperate with others to achieve goals; challenge human limits; measure oneself; discover one’s limitations; make friends; strengthen relationships with others; get to know one’s body better; experience pride and keep oneself in shape – gain or lose weight; maintain good mental health; learn how to respect others; share a common goal with others; develop loyalty, commitment and perseverance; promote cultural values experience the ‘cutting-edge feeling’ of pushing to the limits to reduce stress, etc.”

Without any doubt, they said, sport allows a person to handle stress, increases academic performance as well as better relationships with family and friends.

Put in other words, sports help prevent a range of problems, including substance abuse, they said.

“That people of the area have also increasing become obese. While youth of the area would keep themselves fit to compete, others including elderly and middle-age would walk considerable distance to see the youth of the area complete and also interact with peers and contemporaries.”

They said while converting the sports ground into the park, the government built a small sports arena adjacent to it. However, they said, the same proved to be deleterious if not disastrous. “In absence of the ground where teams compete and elderly watch, the small concrete sports arena and adjacent bund allowed youth to puff cigarettes and harmful drugs.”

They said that there is an immediate need for reconverting the park or at least part it for allowing sports activities to prevent the youth of the area against the scourge of the drugs and save their future which “in turn secure better future a nation.”



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