KATHMANDU, May 26: The construction of the International Cricket Stadium at Mulpani is not yet over even after 16 years since it began. The construction has been delayed for many reasons and the problem over the land in the middle of the pitch is one of them. The land inside the cricket pitch was sold and bought even nine years after the construction started.
"We have received orders from the authorities to remove the house that we constructed on the land plot that was bought seven years back," said Phul Maya Lama, the owner of the house. The house is built on the plot that now falls within the boundary of the cricket pitch. The three ana plot of land with plot numbers 401 and 404 lies within the cricket pitch and now we are asked to vacate it, Lama lamented, expressing worry over her family becoming homeless.
Fifty-two anas land belonging to 11 families lies in the middle of the cricket pitch, said Radha Krishna Bista, who has been coordinating the construction of the stadium on behalf of the National Sports Council. According to him, the construction of two cricket grounds covering 296 ropanis lands has reached the final stage. A cricket championship was held in the upper ground while the Prime Minister Cup Cricket Championship has started on the lower pitch from today.
Ten teams including those of the seven states, the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force (APF) are taking part in the championship. Addressing the inauguration program of the championship, State Assembly Member Maniram Phuyal stressed professional development of the sports sector. He called for resolving the land issue at the cricket pitch by providing compensation to the land-owners. Kageshwari Manohara Municipality's mayor Krishnahari Thapa said the municipality is to be developed as the sports hub. He said besides the cricket stadium, there is also an international standard golf course in the municipality.
Nepali Congress constituency number 2 regional president Upendra Karki said all the political parties of then Mulpani had provided the public land for the construction of the Asian Cricket Academy. Although the invitation card distributed to the local people mentioned that former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Minister for Youth and Sports, Jagat Bahadur Bishwakarma would be inaugurating the stadium, they did not turn up for the function, a local Nawaraj Acharya expressed his dismay. There is no fence of iron nets on the outer boundary of the cricket pitch.
There are bushes on the open ground outside the cricket pitch and the parapet. Kabita Timilsina's house adjoins the cricket pitch. Although a decision was made to provide public land to the families to be relocated from this place, this public land has been grabbed by the landless squatters who had taken compensation of Rs 200 thousand before this.