Shillong, Mar 23: If readers have wandered past First Ground in Polo here recently, they might be surprised to see, if they peeped through the gate, that no work is going on to lay a new turf on the ground.

This despite the fact that the state government, back in December, had said that work to lay an artificial pitch will begin in March. Now, with March almost over, the average person must be thinking that here is another deadline blown. But they would be wrong because what the government actually meant by work is paperwork.

Today, Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh said that plans have been studied and procedures followed and, soon, the government will issue a tender for the laying of the pitch as well as building of two sections of stands where wooden bleachers once used to be. The idea is for the stadium to be able to seat 10,000 people in the end.

Lyngdoh was on a visit to Polo today to inspect the ongoing work (yes, real work) that is being put into renovating the JN Stadium. There, of course, the artificial pitch has been removed and two sections of wall on either side of the VIP gallery have been torn down.

Now, it’s a good thing that the government is going about things properly but what is frustrating for TSR is that with the JN Stadium and First Ground unusable, two of the biggest grounds in Shillong are out of commission at the exact same time. Surely that could have been avoided for the benefit of football, footballers and fans.

(TSR file photo)

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