NO PLACE TO PRACTISE
A Kopar Khairane resident, said: “People from all over the state and country have come to live in Navi Mumbai. These include thousands of patrons of wrestling. The mathadis who hail from western Maharashtra are prominent among them. There are several good wrestlers in the police force and other organisations.”
Mahesh Shinde, a wrestler, said: “The sport that has earned the country the rare individual medal in Olympics is not being given a small piece of land in the city. Cidco and NMMC have given step-motherly treatment to the sport, its
participants and its patrons.”
Shinde said: “There is no place to practise for those who want to make wrestling a career in the sport. The wrestling patrons bereft of any practicing ground are demanding that NMMC and Cidco develop an akhara in every node of the city.”
MAYOR GIVES MORE ASSURANCES Cidco vice-chairman and managing director Sanjay Bhatia refused to comment on the issue.
Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane said: “We are planning to develop two akharas in the city using MLA Sandeep Naik’s funds. They will come up in Sanpada and Kopar Khairane and will be the traditional mud based and also the modern mat based to prepare for Olympics.”
Sonawane added that Rs10 lakh will be sanctioned from the MLA funds for the akhadas.
A wrestling enthusiast said: “A wrestling mat itself costs Rs5 lakh. How will a mere Rs10 lakh help? These assurances are never going to end.”
In 2005, the then corporator Chandrabhaga More had followed up on the issue. The general body of NMMC had approved a modern wrestling ground. The standing committee had approved the development of a wrestling ground in Kopar Khairane. However, due to disagreement on the place, the resolution has been gathering dust. The NMMC, too, has not done anything to build an akhara.