The only gymnasium and youth centre in the district has remained closed for the last 14 years and has been declared abandoned.
The centre was established in 1977 on the PNG field of the municipality to inspire the youths to take part in sports and gymnastics. It was inaugurated on September 24 in 1978.
From 1978 to 2003, youths could play carrom, chess and table tennis or practice boxing, weight lifting and yoga during the day time, said Sheikh Haider Ali Babu, vice-president of the District Sports Organisation as well as deputy director of Gymnasium and Juvenile Organising Committee.
The office room of the centre was demolished in 2003 during construction of the permanent stage at Swadhinata Udyan, and the roof of the main building was damaged at that time. The centre has not been used since then.
The centre was allowed to be used as a relief warehouse of Red Crescent at the request of the district administration after Sidr hit the coastal areas in 2007, Babu added.
Boxers Enayet and Parvez, and some others who received medals at the national level, came to prominence from the centre. Closure of the centre has been a loss, Babu said, adding that many youths of the district will be benefited if the government renovates and reopens it.
Director of Gymnasium and Youth Centre Prof Bulbul Kabir said the district council demolished the office room of the youth centre during construction of the permanent stage at Swadhinata Udyan.
“Since then, I could not reopen the centre as we do not have sufficient funds. I have informed the chairman of the district council about the matter, and he asked me to submit an application for it. We will do it as soon as possible,” he added
District Sports Association General Secretary Sardar Selim Ahmed said, “We are trying to launch the gymnasium and youth centre again. I have applied for permission from the National Sports Council.”
Deputy Commissioner, also President of the youth centre, Tapan Kumar Biswas said that he did not know about the matter, adding that he will take necessary steps to reopen it as soon as possible.