LARKANA: The work on Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Stadium Larkana, spreading over 12 acres of land, has not yet been completed despite the passage of nine years. The foundation stone of the stadium was laid down by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on May 29, 1966 when he was foreign minister, and the stadium was named Municipal Stadium. In this connection, Works and Services Department Executive Engineer Ghulam Abbas Soomro said that work had not been completed due to non-provision of required funds, adding that if allocated budget was released, project would likely be completed by June 2018. He said that Rs 15 million was spent on levelling earth work of athletics track and efforts were being taken to complete a new pavilion, subjected to availability of funds. He informed that design had been changed three times and in 2008, when Pakistan People’s Party was in power at the centre, it had been decided to construct the stadium afresh with a revised cost of Rs 158 million. He said that when Muhammad Ali Shah was Sindh minister for sports, the contract was awarded to a contractor on approved PC-1 for cricket ground, athletic track, badminton ground and other grounds. At the very outset, athletic ground was prepared but non-release of funds delayed the entire project. He said the Sindh government had always lamented that development schemes were not being completed and funds were not utilised by concerned officials, he said. It had been reported that some contracts for the work on the stadium were unjustifiably given to contractors, which had delayed the project further. It was reported that the pavilion, which was constructed to seat about 5,000 people, was shifted to the north side unnecessarily. According to sources, an underground water tank was also constructed which was not needed because of the availability of sweet underground drinking water. It was also said that a sewage disposal system was built alongside boundary wall of the stadium. Due to which, the grass for the stadium, imported from Dhaka, had been destroyed. Hockey and football matches of national and international level, as well as other sports events, had been organised at the stadium in the past but the stadium’s renovation had been waiting completion for the past 9 years. Also, the athletics track, cricket pitch and badminton court had not yet been refurbished. Furthermore, it was reported that land grabbers had occupied portions of the stadium where illegal construction had been made and no concerned authority had so far addressed that. Published in Daily Times, November 11th 2017.