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Death of wrestler Vishal Kumar exposes nonchalant attitude of administrators

22-year old wrestler Vishal Kumar was electrocuted and died at Jaipal Singh Stadium in Ranchi. The wrestler while visiting the Jharkhand State Wrestling Association (JSWA) office housed in the stadium,  went to the washroom where the electrocution occurred due to a loose wire hanging there. Vishal Kumar was rushed to the Ranchi Sadar Hospital, but died on the way.

Ranchi boy Vishal Kumar began wrestling in 2005. He represented the state at various junior and senior national meets. Earlier this year, he took part in senior nationals in Greco-Roman Style in 74kg weight category held in Uttar Pradesh and ranked 4th.

Vishal Kumar’s death has put several questions forward about the blame-game and indifferent attitude of sports administrators. The dilapidated stadium building was flooded with rainwater since the beginning of monsoon.  The condition worsened due to heavy rains in the past couple of weeks. “Preliminary investigation has revealed that death was due to electrocution. Faulty wiring seems to be main cause for this incident,” said officer in-charge of Kotwali police station, Shyamanand Mandal.  In contrary, Ganesh Jha, general manager of Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam (JBVNL) said, “An executive engineer visited the site and reported that there is no fault in the power connection provided by JBVNL. However, there could be a loose connection in the building’s internal electrical wiring.”

People regularly visiting the building said that it is the case of clear negligence. OC Mandal also expressed surprise over how the building still housed offices. “It is run-down and risky, particularly in the rainy season, when the premise is often waterlogged,” he said. However Bholanath Singh, the secretary of JSWA put the responsibility on the Ranchi Municipal Corporation for the incident. Singh claimed that they had already complained to the Corporation but there was no response. “We have been claiming renovation of the stadium for years, but changes are far from visible. The ground floor is almost always flooded in monsoon,” Singh told after the death of Vishal Kumar. On the point of sportsmen still living in the house amidst such dangerous situations, Bholanath Singh claimed that they are being shifted gradually as arrangement of accommodation needs time.

Sports director of Ranchi, Ranendra Kumar hinted that the wrestling association never sought a safer place to house its office as they allocate space for games associations if demanded. When asked about the renovation of the building, Ranchi deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya said the RMC had a “multicrore plan” to renovate the stadium, but admitted that after this incident appropriate action will be taken soon.

About Poulomi Kundu

PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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