The fourth T20 international between India and Australia will be played today at Raipur’s Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh stadium. But with just hours to go for the crucial encounter, there is no electricity in parts of the stadium. Reason: An electricity bill which hasn’t been paid since 2009.
The stadium has an outstanding bill of Rs 3.16 crore, due to which the electricity connection at the stadium had been cut 5 years ago. A temporary connection was installed at the request of the Chhattisgarh State Cricket Association, but that only covers the spectators’ gallery and boxes. The floodlights during the match today would need to be run using a generator.
Raipur Rural Circle in-charge Ashok Khandelwal said that the Secretary Cricket Association has applied to increase the capacity of the temporary connection of the stadium.
At present, the capacity of the temporary connection is 200 KV. An application to upgrade it to 1 thousand KV has been approved, but work on it hasn’t started yet.
In 2018, there was an uproar when athletes participating in a half-marathon realised that there was no electricity supply at the stadium. It was then announced that the electricity bill hadn’t been paid since 2009, and had gone up to Rs 3.16 crore.
After the construction of the stadium, its maintenance was handed over to the Public Works Department (PWD), while the remaining expenses were to be borne by the Sports Department. The two departments have been blaming each other for the unpaid power bill.
The electricity company sent several notices to PWD and Sports Department for clearance of dues, but no payment has been made yet.
Three international cricket matches have been organised in the stadium since the power connection was cut in 2018.
The Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh (CSCS) which currently manages the stadium, said that there is no payment that they owe to the electricity department.
“We can’t comment on the previous dues of the department that the stadium was under prior to CSCS coming in. That connection where dues maybe there was in the name of the relevant government department,” said Jubin Shah, President-CSCS.