GUWAHATI, July, 15 � The brainchild of RG Baruah, the architect of modern Assam, Nehru Stadium completed 50 years today.
Way back in 1962, on this day, the stadium was inaugurated with an exhibition football match between Chief Minister�s XI and Gauhati High Court Chief Justice�s XI.
At that time the Nehru Stadium was not like that of now. Only the western part, gate No. 3 to 7, of the stadium was completed. The other parts of the stadium were covered by wooden gallery and the ground, although little bumpy, was ready for football matches.
A group of sports loving people, led by RG Baruah, took up the project to build a full-fledged stadium in Guwahati to encourage youngsters in developing their sporting skills. The process was started in the year 1957 at a place which was a dumping ground. But within a span of five years, RG�s dream came true. Gentlemen like Rajendra Chandra Choudhury, Pulin Das also toiled hard along side RG in completing the project.
Before the Nehru Stadium, the indoor stadium, now Kanaklata Indoor Stadium, came up in 1959. It was a challenge of RG who completed the stadium within six months to host the national badminton championship.
When the Nehru Stadium was inaugurated, present day�s RG Baruah Guest House Landmark Hotels was not there and the whole area was open space. The covered gallery of the stadium was visible from B Borooah Road. Later, the RG Baruah Guest House, Dr Zakir Hussain Gymnasium, now it has been reconstructed and named Tarun Ram Phookan Indoor Stadium, BP Chaliha Swimming Pool, basketball court, tennis complex , players pavilion gradually came up and it became the only sports complex in India which had all the facilities. Dara Singh and some other stars of the wrestling world, on invitation of RG Baruah, extended support in drawing funds for the stadium.
On a cloudy day, thousands of spectators enjoyed the match which could be termed as a milestone in Assam.
After that, the Nehru Stadium hosted numerous State, national and international events including 15 One-day Internationals against all Test playing countries, baring Bangladesh and couple of East Zone matches against Australia and Pakistan.
Nehru Stadium became a house hold name of the football buffs during the 1970s and 80s for the enormous popularity of Bordoloi Trophy.
The team members of the exhibition match were: (Chief Minister�s XI) - Bimala Prasad Chaliha (captain), Sidhi Nath Sarma, Kamakhya Prasad Tripathy, Ramnath Das, Baidyanath Mukherjee, Debakanta Baruah, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Mahendranath Hazarika, Chatrasing Teron, Mainul Haque Choudhury, Rupnath Brahma, Choy Choy Teron, Girindranath Gogoi (all Ministers), AN Kidwai (Chief Secretary).
Chief Justice XI: Gopalji Mehrotra (Chief Justice, HC), Ram Lavaya, SK Ghosh, Sarat Das, Parbati Kumar Goswami, Pulakanta Das, Amzad Ali, BD Sarma, BS Guha, PK Lahiri, Rajanikanta Goswami, Durga Hazarika, Hareswar Goswami. Referee-Gen SM Srinagesh (Governor of Assam), linesmen-BC Ganguly (General Manager of NF Railway), Sarvananda Singh (General Manager of Guwahati Refinery).