Villagers plan kabaddi, cricket tournament on Formula One track

As a mark of protest against the acquisition of land for the Formula One track, the residents of Dankaur village are planning to organise a sports tournament at the spot on October 29. According to a pamphlet circulated among villagers on Monday, the tournament comprising events such as cricket, kabaddi, wrestling and athletics will start at 11 am.

With the main F1 race scheduled for October 30, the qualifying rounds will be conducted on October 29.

Nathiram Sharma, a village leader from Dankaur and one of the chief organisers of the event, said, "The event is symbolic in nature. We gave up our land in the hope that industries would come up and provide employment to our people. As it turns out, our demands have been absolutely ignored. After taking away our livelihood, the administration has not provided our children with any alternative sources of employment."

Villagers said that funds, which should have been directed towards the betterment of residents, have been wastefully spent on the F1 event, which does not benefit them at all. "We have terrible roads, no infrastructure to speak of, and very little electricity and water. We find it offensive that while landless labourers would now have no source of income, cars worth crores of rupees will come and race down the track for three days, for an event that we cannot even afford to buy tickets for," said Dhiraj Yadav, a villager. Sharma said, "We have so many talented sportpersons in our villages, we would like to hold cricket and wrestling tournaments. We will hold our own sports event, which will benefit us."

Officials of the Greater Noida Authority, on the other hand, said there was no chance of such an event being allowed. "We will talk to the farmers regarding their plans, but there is no chance that the event will go through. There is going to be very tight security."

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