Pune: Ministers Vehicles Parked On Athletic Track At Balewadi Stadium Draws Flak From Opposition

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New Delhi/Pune, 28th June 2021: Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju expressed displeasure over cars being parked on the racing track at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune, during a meeting by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and senior Maharashtra government ministers.

Rijiju, reacting to a tweet by the BJP MLA Siddharth Shirole from Shivajinagar in Pune, tweeted, “I am personally deeply saddened to see such disrespect towards sports and sports ethics in my country.”

“Anyway our country lacks adequate sports facilities. All sports centers need proper care,” he said.

Shirole in his tweet yesterday said that apart from Sharad Pawar (who is the former President of the Indian Olympic Association), Sports Minister Sunil Kedar and Minister of State Aditi Tatkare were also present in the meeting on Saturday.

The Pune District Information Officer later apologized for the incident and issued a clarification. “Only one vehicle was allowed to use the cement concrete road near the athletic track, other vehicles were not allowed. The Sports Minister has taken cognizance of this incident and has directed to ensure that such incident does not happen in future. Going forward it will be ensured that vehicles on the athletic track are not allowed to ply.”

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Sports Commissioner Om Prakash Bakoria told news agency ANI that since Sharad Pawar had some leg problem, only his vehicle was allowed to be parked on the cemented track. He said, “I apologize for this and assure you that this kind of incident will not happen again.”

The ministers reportedly did not want to use the lift to reach the second floor of the sports complex, which houses a meeting hall. According to ANI, to avoid inconvenience, the ministers had decided to move the cars to the second floor of the complex and park the cars on the athletic track. The cars were reportedly parked on the track itself till the meeting was over.