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Amritsar

Posted at: Sep 27, 2015, 1:22 AM; last updated: Sep 27, 2015, 1:01 AM (IST)

No plan to develop Gandhi Ground as world-class cricket stadium: RTI

Construction is yet to be completed

  • Though the Gandhi Ground hosted many international and First Class cricket tournaments, its construction is yet to be completed. At several points, steps are missing while the existing ones are in a ramshackle state.
No plan to develop Gandhi Ground as world-class cricket stadium: RTI
Many portions around the Gandhi Ground in Amritsar still lie vacant as the staircases are yet to be constructed. PHOTO: RK SONI

Neeraj Bagga

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 26

Though the state government announced that the Gandhi Ground will be developed as a world-class cricket stadium to host international matches, an RTI plea filed by a city-based resident revealed that there was no such plan on the cards.

Responding to an RTI of Michael Emmanuel, the Sports Department clarified that no proposal had been received in this regard from the district administration, which runs the affair of the Gandhi ground so far.

He said announcements of expansion and upgrade of the Gandhi cricket ground into an international stadium was made many a time by senior leaders of the present government.

Last year, it was also in the BJP’s manifesto to have a international cricket stadium here.

Ambitious projects like international cricket stadium will help Amritsar to grow fast. It will help to increase the tourism also. Besides, the city has an international airport, rail and road connectivity with Pakistan.

Though the cricket ground hosted many international and First Class cricket tournaments, its construction is yet to be completed. At several points, steps are missing while the existing ones are in a ramshackle state.

The steps meant for spectators’ seating have grass growing underneath them.

Many portions around the ground still lie vacant where staircases are yet to be constructed. If completed, it would increase the present capacity of the stadium to 40,000.

The ground had hosted last international match between India and New Zealand in 1995. Since then, it was not developed in consonance with internationally required infrastructure and has lost the race to be counted among the venue for hosting international matches.

Established in 1932 with a generous donation from Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala and the then Punjab Government, the ground is spread on 22 acres.

Subsequently, Guru Nanak Stadium, badminton hall, AGA Club and Virsa Vihar were formed out of it. The cricket stadium now stands on nine acres.

The first notable match was played between the India XI and the MCC in 1933. The Indian cricket team was led by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, while other famous players were Lala Amarnath, Col CK Naidu and Surjit Singh Majithia.

The cricket ground hosted several international matches, including those against West Indies, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England. The Indian cricket team had played against Sri Lanka in 1983. The North Zone cricket team had played against West Indies in 1984. India versus World XI and India versus New Zealand were played in 1995.

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