Construction delay hits cricket in Baitadi

Published On: October 27, 2016 01:30 AM NPT By: Bira Gadal

BAITADI, Oct 27: Dasharath Chand Cricket Ground at Sundar Khali, located near the district headquarters of Baitadi, used to host cricket tournaments until two years back.

Local cricket enthusiast used to enjoy watching district to regional-level cricket tournaments there. The cricket ground was constructed with the support from the District Development Committee and the Municipality. 

But the project of upgrading the local ground into an international stadium which started two years back has deprived the ground of hosting any cricket tournament. The construction work has also stopped due to dispute between the contractor and the National Sports Council (NSC).  The construction of the Dasharath Chand Cricket Stadium with an estimated budget of Rs110 million has been abandoned since last year that has caused scarcity of the ground for the local players to play.

This local ground was built along with the entry of cricket in the district two decades back. “In the past, many local players learnt cricketing skills in this very ground and left their mark at the national and international stage. But it is misfortunate that local players now don't have even a venue to play their beloved game,” said Chatur Bahadur Chand, the elected president of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), which was suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC). “The construction work must go on at any cost. The local talents and cricket enthusiasts who were excited after the construction of the well equipped stadium began are very much disappointed now.”

Chandra and Basanta Construction was handed over the responsibility to construct the multi-propose cricket stadium by the NSC two years ago. A year after the contract, not just the construction remains halted but also the cricket ground has become further damaged. The company has pointed out to the payment issue for stopping the construction work. It has claimed that the NSC did not pay it the approved budget of Rs 11.9 million despite finishing work worth that amount. The NSC, however, has said that it made the payment on the basis of the valuation of the construction work. 

In the meantime, players are badly affected due to the dispute between the two parties.

“Currently we are not in a condition either to practice regularly or to organize local tournaments. Thus the construction work must resume at the earliest,” said Mohit Bhandari, one of the local players.  

“The ground used to host local tournaments to regional qualifiers. But the local players are very much disappointed since we are facing lack of playground since the last two years,” said another local player Khem Raj Bhatta.   

The local players are now compelled to play on dusty Dehimandu ground which is 10 km far from the district headquarters.  Players not only complain about the dusty ground but also about the small size and time taken to reach there. 

The plan to construct the international-level stadium has hit a snag. The stadium was supposed to have facilities like pavilion, dressing room, administrative building, gym hall and practice hall among others.

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