Hundreds of professional swimmers, athletes, sports hostel inmates and general public staged dharna outside the swimming pool protesting against the decision. They also demanded immediate rollback of the decision.
An official notification issued by the sports department stated that activities in the swimming pool would be ceased for complete renovation of the sports complex. However, a portion of the pool would be demolished for construction of additional galleries for adjacent hockey stadium ahead of the men's hockey World Cup- 2018, official sources said.
International swimmer Pratyasha Ray, who turned up with her parents to protest against the decision, expressed her shock over the arbitrary decision. She said the decision would affect her sports career as the state government has made no alternative arrangements.
"Unlike other games, a professional swimmer needs to practice every day. Even if I fail to practice for two to three days, it will affect my performance. Where will we practice now? It would take at least seven to eight months for complete renovation of pool," Pratyasha.
Pratyasha's parents also expressed their displeasure over the move saying they are apprehensive about the career of her daughter, who won over a dozen national and international medals at the age of 15.
The swimming pool with world class infrastructures was developed in 2004 with an investment of around Rs 8 crore. Another diving pool was also constructed in 2008 in which the state government had spent nearly Rs 4 crore. Over 200 swimmers use the pool for practice and fitness every day.
According to the plan, the sports department has aimed to double the capacity of the hockey stadium by building additional galleries in north and south ends. The existing two galleries in east and west sides can accommodate 10,000 spectators at present.
"We have no option but to demolish a portion of the swimming and diving pools for the 16-nation hockey World Cup. We have a plan to extend both the pools from other sides," said a sports department officer.
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/odisha-government-faces-flak-over-closure-of-kalinga-stadium-swimming-pool/articleshow/60782408.cms