DURING LATE 1970S, the Board of Sports of Assam (BSA) had planned to add two major projects in the Nehru Stadium complex, now RG Baruah Sports Complex, in Guwahati. One was a state-of-the-art swimming pool and the other was floodlight system. Accordingly, both the projects were materialised and Assam got a full-fledged swimming pool which was named after former Chief Minister of Assam Bimala Prasad Chaliha (BP Chaliha Swimming Pool). The four-towered floodlight system, although it has become outdated today, also came into existence.
The BP Chaliha Swimming Pool, the first scientifically built pool in the State was inaugurated in the year 1981 and since then it has been the centre of attraction of the entire sports complex, as swimming is not only a fascination but also a useful means for maintaining physical fitness. Swimming also helps one in saving themselves from meeting watery grave.
The BP Chaliha Swimming Pool was used by many after being opened for training, competition and recreation purposes. Some national level tournaments, apart from the State and district level ones, were organised in this pool that initially also had a diving platform. The 50-metre pool had produced international swimmers from Assam including the likes of Mithu Baruah, Elvis Ali Hazarika, among others. Since the late 1990s, the Board of Sports, Assam (BSA), which has been the authority of the pool management, started a crash course for the tiny tots during every summer vacation. A lot of youngsters became benefited from such courses as they came to know how to swim and at least how to float on water.
The pool also became the bread earner of BSA employees as about 80 per cent of salaries was managed from the income of the pool. More than 1,000 swimmers, right from the beginners to recreational swimmers, used the pool in various shifts that started from 6 am and continued till night (for recreational swimmers).
Later, the pool was renovated and the diving board was dismantled. The depth of the pool was also made equal throughout its length unlike its earlier avatar of a declining depth from the starting point to the end.
But during the last couple of years the pool has remained closed as now and then renovation works have denied the swimmers from continuing their favourite event. It has been noticed that the pool is often being renovated since the mid-1990s. Several works were done time and again. Now the pool is witnessing some major works, depriving the swimmers from carrying out their activities during summer. People in the heart of the city face inconvenience in practising at the Dr Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex in Sarusajai not only for the distance but also for several other reasons. �
A section of guardians has even alleged that huge financial irregularities have taken place while carrying out the renovation works in the BP Chaliha Swimming Pool. They have also urged the Chief Minister for a proper investigation into the matter, while requesting him to take action so that the pool is reopened at the earliest.