|The Vasantrao Naik slum of the city where the brutal lynching of history-sheeter Iqbal Sheikh took place on Tuesday has, in fact, belongs to the Vidarbha Football Association (now non-existant). Even the Supreme court had issued directives for removal of the slum but owing lack of intent and political intervention, the slum continued to exist.
The land on which the slum had been set up by a few politicians to obtain political millage was supposed to be used for construction of a football ground. People who bore witness to this revealed that during the civic elections of that time people from Jatatrodi had taken possession of this land over night. These people were believed to be supporters of a political heavy weight of the Vidarbha region. Gradually as time passed the slum was taken over by new encroachers whereas the plan of using the land for football was washed out.
The Vidarbha Football Association which initially owned the land has now seized to exist after the rule of ‘one state one association’. However even when the Vidarbha Football Association was in existence the ground could never be used as a play field. The activities of the sport revolved around the Kasturchand Park which was then under the Nagpur Football Association.
Another ground had also been encroached upon by slum-dwellers which belonged to the Vidarbha Hockey Association. Encroachment from this land had been removed some time back. At that time it was being believed that anti-encroachment action would be taken on the football ground too but this could not happen.
On the other hand, the NMC took this matter to the Supreme Court which directed the immediate removal of the slum. However, on each occasion that the NMC’s anti-encroachment squad reached the area to remove the slum, but politicians intervention deferred the action.