SRINAGAR: The inhabitants of Malanu village situated in Thathri of Doda district have alleged that the village sarpanch permitted the establishment of a volleyball ground on the only helipad designated for medical emergencies. This district is hilly, and there are frequent road mishaps. The helipad was built for medical evacuations, but it has been used by choppers merely three times since its construction in 2007. In response to the accusation, the Doda district administration has requested the J&K Sports Council and the PWD to furnish details regarding this matter.
According to a statement made by social activist Asif Iqbal, as quoted by The Tribune, “There was no other helipad in the tehsil. After the tendering process for a synthetic volleyball court, the work was taken up by a contractor who got almost a ready-made plain area. The sports council and PWD should have consulted each other before allowing the construction.”
As per his statement, an access road was constructed during the helipad’s development, and he also mentioned that the location was unsuitable for a volleyball court due to its position on a hill and being encompassed by ravines.
Meanwhile, Sarpanch Zafarullah Magray said that officials from the J&K Sports Council approached him for identification of land. “I showed them two places but they said machines wouldn’t be able to reach those sites. They asked me to allow construction on the helipad. I asked them to get a no objection certificate before starting the work,” he said. “The helipad has been used twice or thrice since its construction in 2007. The construction of the volleyball ground started in December last year. No one spoke at that time, but they are now accusing me of scam,” he said. SDM Athar Amin Zargar told The Tribune that a probe had been launched. “We are trying to know if it was a designated helipad. The probe result will come out soon,” he added.