PESHAWAR: Although the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has established 24 playgrounds across the province, land disputes in various districts have created hurdles for the construction of other playing fields.
According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the provincial government allocated Rs705 million for the construction of 47 playgrounds in 25 districts. The number was later increased to 63.
An official of the sports department said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan showed great interest in the project and directed authorities to complete the construction of these grounds in 2015. However, a shortage of funds and long-standing land disputes hampered progress on the initiative.
As per the official, the Communication and Works (C&W) Department only handed over seven sports grounds by the end of 2015.
“The PTI chief expressed his displeasure over this,” he said. “He urged the relevant director to take notice of the project.”The official said the provincial government released all funds to the C&W Department. However, 13 sites were embroiled in land disputes and the project faced severe problems as property owners filed cases at the Peshawar High Court.
Level playing field
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Sports Director Tariq Mehmood said only 24 playgrounds were completed by June 27, 2015 in various districts. He said Rs1.5 million was allocated for the construction of each ground. A diverse menu of facilities would be provided at these playgrounds, the sports director added.
Mehmood said two grounds each have been completed in Kohat, Karak, Charsadda, Mardan, Nowshera, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Lower Dir, Kohistan, Bannu and one each in Abbottabad and Chitral. The other two grounds have been established in other parts of the province.
He said construction work is under way and teams are inspecting progress on these sites on a daily basis. He said the government is keen on providing sports facilities to the youth and plans are afoot to build grounds on the tehsil level.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2016.