Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) is angered by the turning over of the Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium Srinagar into a platform for political rallies.
However, the association seemed helpless against the might of political parties, reported Daily Times UK. “What can we do? The government doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation. We are angry but helpless” said a JKCA official.
The stadium first played platform to a rally addressed by prime minister, Narendra Modi, on last week and a couple of days later, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took the stage to address people in a rally.
Modi was the first person to address a rally at the main ground. Prior to this political rallies would be staged at the stadium’s academy which is just adjacent to the ground. Among the people who addressed rallies there includes former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Sources said that the already faint hope of staging an international match at the 12000-capacity-stadium took a further hit because of the rallies. Work to upgrade the stadium to international standards began in 2003 and has seen the development of main pavilion, commentator’s box, media gallery and players’ pavilion.
Construction work on the stadium had to be stalled in 2012, however, on account of the emergence of a scam, wherein JKCA officials were accused of diverting Rs. 50 crores to three different accounts opened in the name of JKCA by officials. The sum was granted to JKCA by BCCI as a subsidy.
Ever since, the accused officials have been sacked and replaced. The case is still under investigation even as the police are yet to file a charge-sheet. The work on the pitch and surrounding areas resumed earlier this year, with officials claiming to have pumped Rs. 1 crore in the project. However, they are unaware of what damages may have been caused to the pitch by the rallies this far.
“It will be only assessed once the Assembly election is over. The stadium belongs to JKCA. The government has nothing to do with it; still political parties get permission from the deputy commissioner, Srinagar to hold rallies here,” sources said.