Saturday, July 13, 2024

Preservation of Natural Grass at Siri Fort Sports Complex: A battle of balancing modernisation and environmental conservation

Siri Fort Sports Complex (SFSC), nestled amidst the bustling cityscape of the national capital, has long been a hub for sports enthusiasts and athletes. It has played host to national and international sporting events.

However, a contentious issue emerged when Delhi High Court recently ordered that the football and hockey fields at the SFSC, which presently have natural grass, should not be destroyed or altered for the laying of artificial turfs.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the land-owning agency which manages the Sports Centre, had planned to lay artificial turf on the football and hockey fields in order to improve the quality of play.

The court, however, ordered a status quo in 2020, suspending the DDA’s plan.

On June 30, Justice Najmi Waziri while hearing a plea moved by a senior citizen Sudhir Gupta, a permanent member of the Sports Complex, passed a judgment in which he called DDA’s proposed plan “impermissible and illegal”.

“The DDA shall maintain the status quo passed in this petition on 04.02.2020. The said order is made absolute. The football and hockey fields which presently have natural grass shall not be destroyed or altered to artificial turf,” the court ordered.

The order passed by Delhi HC order has sparked the battle between modernisation and the preservation of nature.

The court’s order is a victory for those who have been fighting to protect the natural grass on the SFSC fields as it is also a reminder of the importance of green spaces in urban areas, and the need to carefully consider the environmental impact of development projects.

On the other hand, proponents of artificial turf believe the order denied proper playing surface, highlighting the pathetic condition of the surface on which players have to play.

Astro turfs or artificial turfs have their own significance in terms of playability as it is easier to maintain, doesn’t require water, and can accommodate a variety of activities.

With artificial turf, athletes can practice on the field in almost any weather without damaging the ground. Also, it doesn’t freeze in the winter or thin out in the summer.

Natural grass, however, is more susceptible to wear and tear than artificial turf. This means that it will require more frequent maintenance, and it may not be playable during the monsoon weather.

Overall, the court order is a positive step for the environment, but it may have some negative implications for playing conditions. It will be important to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed.



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