There are finally hopes of reviving the fortunes of the high-tech ice skating rink in Dehradun, constructed at a cost of a whopping Rs 52 crore. The rink was used during the first South Asian Winter Games in 2011 but after that fell into bad days.
The Uttarakhand government has now signed an MoU with a private company to operate and manage the international cricket stadium and also to revive the ice skating rink.
The Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) has started the special operation to make the ice skating rink, located in Dehradun, operational.
As the indoor rink was last used in 2012, the process of cleaning and fixing other things like electricity has begun. Ajay Pandey, director of Dehradun Arena (a subsidiary of IL&FS) said, “We have established contact with technical experts in Canada and we will make the ice skating rink operational in 6-8 months.”
The rink shares its campus with the state government-run Maharana Pratap Sports College. The campus remains in complete neglect with weeds and wild grass presenting a sorry picture.
After hogging the limelight during the first South Asian Winter games ~ in which Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated ~ the ice skating rink fell into disuse. The efforts of the Congress government to revive the jumbo infrastructure failed miserably.
Now the BJP government has started the process and IL&FS is keen on starting multiple activities at the rink. The indoor stadium will be used for hosting other sports events, while special focus will be on starting ice sports. Technicians from Canada are expected to arrive soon.
The Central Government had provided Rs 110 crore for building infrastructure facilities for the South Asian Games at Dehradun and Auli. About Rs 52 crore was spent on the state-of-the-art rink, the first of its kind in India.
As the operation cost was high, the Uttarakhand government and the Winter Games Federation of India failed to find a suitable partner for operating the expensive infrastructure. The rink became a white elephant. Now a new effort is under way to make it functional.