Rebuilding A Hope
When I assumed office in 2000 we were faced with an onerous task. The killer cyclone of 1999 had left the Barabati Stadium devastated like everything else. The Galleries, the Press Box, the Electronic scoreboard and the boundary walls were severely damaged. We took up the repair and renovation work on a war footing. The roofs of the galleries were restored, the entire stadium was painted anew and the ground too was cleared of the slush, left behind by the cyclone. By the time the One Day International match between India and Zimbabwe was held on 2 December, 2000,the stadium wore a festive look. There was no trace of the devastation thirteen months back.
We have constructed a new pavilion with a capacity of 500 seats. Ten new rooms have been constructed to house the generators used for the floodlights. Five single room quarters have also been built for the staff members of the association. Two computers with Internet facility have installed in the office for official business. Storerooms have been added to keep machinery and cricket gear belonging to the association. The Press box was too cramped. Its capacity has been increased and made more spacious. A room has been attached to the Press Box with Internet facility to facilitate smooth functioning by the media persons. A dining room has also been built above the computer room for members of the Press.
We have widened the scope of cricket in Orissa. As the ICC has been making efforts at globalisation to cricket, we have tried to take cricket to all corners of Orissa. We have staged Ranji Trophy matches at different district headquarters and the Kalahandi Cup Inter-District Tournament has been spread far and wide in Orissa. We have staged Inter-District tournaments for the age groups of under-19, under-17 and under-15 years. Apart from these we conducted the Cuttack League comprising of clubs affiliated to the O.C.A., the Inter-College and the Inter-School tournaments in Cuttack. In order to encourage school cricket, we have awarded special grants to five disteict units who hold Inter-School tournaments. As a result of our efforts, nearly 3000 cricketers from all over the state have been able to play competitive cricket at all levels.
Besides awarding trophies, we have awarded cash prizes to teams winning and finishing runners-up in all categories of domestic tournaments. Players with outstanding performances in various national tournaments have been felicitated and given cash incentives. The fees for umpires have been more than doubled for their toils. The pocket allowance of Ranji Trophy players have been increased four-fold. Dearness allowance to players participating in the Inter-District tournaments has been enhanced by more than fifty percent. Today 16 players are given D.A. instead of 14 players previously. We want to make it clear that out efforts have always been player-friendly.We have enhanced grants to the districts, clubs, schools and colleges, affiliated to O.C.A.
- Districts – Rs.20,000/- from Rs.15,000/-
- Clubs – Rs.15.000/- from Rs.10,000/-
- Schools – Rs.10,000/- from Rs.5,000/-
Upgrading The Pitch
Let me mention here that the B.C.C.I. had identified Barabati Stadium as one of the ten grounds to be developed to measure up to International standards. Accordingly, the pitch and the outfield have been relaid. The head of the grounds and Pitches Committee of the B.C.C.I., Mr.Venkat Sundaram inspected the pitch and the ground in September 2003 and expressed satisfaction at the progress we had made. We shall endeavor to prepare sporting wickets favoring both the batsmen and the bowlers in the future. We have procured a sprinkler of International quality to water the ground. This, incidentally, is the third of its kind in India after Bangalore and Calcutta. We have allocated funds in our budget for developing turf wickets in all the district headquarters so that first-class matches can be allotted to them on rotation basis.
The much-awaited floodlights were inaugurated on the 6 February 2003 amidst much fanfare and jubilation. Our aim in installing the floodlights in not merely confined to cricket. This year’s Cuttack football league was conducted under lights. After a long time, people thronged the ground in thousands to watch a local football match. It was a new spectacle. The District Athletic Meet too was held under lights. We have fulfilled our pledge made to our sister associations to allow the use of floodlights by them whenever the occasion demanded..
Dreams Never Die
In spite of our achievements, we do not want to rest on our laurels forever. We still have plans for future development. We want to increase the strength of the Barabati Stadium to 50,000 sears. This would be our gift to the cricket loving people of Cuttack and Orissa. We would also like to build a swimming pool in the premises of the barabati stadium for player and sportspersons. The space for the pool has been earmarked and plans are afoot to start the construction as soon as funds are made available to us. We would also like to construct V.I.P boxes a la Sharjah and some football stadium in Europe with all the modern facilities. We have already located the spot within the stadium and hope to complete them in near future. We would like to make the Press Box and the Media Center more modernized. The media persons shall have all the facilities to transmit news immediately without and encumbrance.
Before I end, I want to thank the President and all the functionaries of B.C.C.I for the help they have extended to us in allowing us to fulfill our aspirations. I want to express my deep gratitude to Mr. Kapil Dev for rendering all the help required for installing the floodlights. I shall never forget his interest and enterprise while helping us. I thank my colleagues in the association for their unstained supported, the cricket lovers of Orissa for appreciation our efforts and members of the media for giving due coverage to our efforts and achievements. I hope the year 2006 is not a culmination point our achievements but a stepping stone to future promise and fulfillment.