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Let the Youth Play

Any physical activity is good for health but sports give you immense pleasure and keep you healthy both mentally and physically.

“Sports is the preserver of health” (Hippocrates). Let’s take a close look at the capital city of Pakistan; Islamabad. No doubt Islamabad is a developed city in Pakistan, but where it falls in the category of sporting activities. For sports facilitation, it has a big sports complex called Islamabad sports complex. In this complex they provide all facilities, there are running tracks, grounds, and courts for different games, swimming pools, and fitness arenas. But is it accessible and affordable for everyone? What are the time and money costs for it? First of all, the Islamabad sports complex is very costly for middle and lower-income families both in terms of money and time cost.

Regardless of the publically owned complex, there are 17,000 rupee fees for comprehensive registration per person for the first time and then 2000 each month. You would have to pay a 6000 registration fee and 800 per month for playing tennis. In the same way, the Squash registration fee is 12000 and 1200 per month.

To play badminton you need to pay 8,000 for the first time and then 1,200 monthly. For jogging, the registration fee is 1,500 500 a month. Basketball’s initial fee is 1,500 and 500 each month all these are fees for the general public. There are many categories for registration, I discuss only a few, in which prices vary in each category for different sports.

For taking membership you also need to have a strong reference. There are many categories i.e. for swimming, gym, and playing soccer you would have to first pay the registration fee and then the monthly membership fee. For doing any sports event you go through a rigorous process. Initially, you fill out a form then you will pay the fee in accordance with the time you would take which is 1500/hr. then you would wait for your turn to come. They will allow you a time and day for that specific sports activity. It is too costly both in terms of time and charges.

Although it is a publically-owned sports complex, it is neither easily accessible nor affordable for the general public. Moreover, it has acquired a greater amount of land which could be used for alternate revenue generation purposes. Furthermore, the construction of such sports complexes is time-consuming and needs a huge amount of investment. So making such sports complexes has lesser benefits for the public in general.

The alternate way for sports activities is small sporting units which are comparatively cheaper than sports complexes and are easily accessible. There are multipurpose grounds in some sectors of Islamabad, there are also some privately owned multipurpose grounds. These multipurpose grounds are comparatively cheaper and some of them have no charges. The process of booking SUKH CHYN is that you need to download an app named “Sports Comrade” which will give you access to online booking.

Make sure that you do your booking before all other bookings to get the desired schedule for the match. Booking is for one hour if you want to play more than one repeat booking for the second hour, and if it is a tournament repeat the same process. Booking and registration are free of cost and totally online. E-11 high-velocity ground has no membership fee it’s charges are fee/hour which cost 2000 daytime and 2500 at night time. The same procedure applies per/day and per/tournament. F-6 Markaz ground take charges 3000/hr whether the booking is for one hour or per day or per tournament, and there is no membership fee. ICAS football ground G-11/3 gives booking for 1 hour 30 min which cost rupees 5000, and when one book it for the whole day then they take charge 5000/hr. for the tournament, they charge 7000 per hour there is variation in their charges according to the time. G-13 sports ground took charges 3000 per hour in all formats whether it is for an hour or day or a full tournament.

To sum up, small sporting units are easily accessible and affordable for everyone. Small sporting units are cost-effective and took less time to construct. Big sports complexes are time taking and have huge government investment which becomes a government liability. It occupies a huge area of land which becomes dead capital when not properly utilized.

This topic is the brainchild of the worthy vice chancellor of PIDE Dr, Nadeem ul Haque who has an undeniable great contribution to the economy of Pakistan his work on the dead capital has clearly mentioned that occupying such lands which could alternatively be better utilized for economic gains. Dead capital refers to the assets which are underutilized and are used for unproductive purposes, construction, and using land as a single story when there is potential for vertical expansion, such type of construction is a waste of land at any prime location.

Take an example from Dr. Nadeem ul Haque’s work on dead capital i.e, Governors’ houses in the main cities occupy great land and are tax-free and take huge budgetary costs. These mansions could alternatively be used as high-end hotels for commercial development, which will have a greater economic outcome in terms of revenue and employment.

Furthermore, he told about the land occupied by the government training institutions. NDC, Staff College, Naval War College, and Civil Services Academy at Lahore. Why do not they vacate this land and move these institutions into Kohat or Quetta? So that this land could be used for commercial development which will have better economic outcomes. There are plenty of examples he has given on the dead capital. So such huge stadiums are also examples of dead capital. Ex-PM Imran Khan mentioned that the value of the dead capital at the prime locations in the main cities is about Rs 300 billion. In order to better utilize the land government needs to encourage the private sector to do investment in small sporting units that will have high efficiency and will create jobs. Ultimately it will not be coming from government liability.

The Author is a MPhil Econometrics – Research Assistant at the Pakistan Institute of development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad. 
Twitter @IjAz_AHMd184

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