In a surprising incident, the fourth T20 international cricket match between India and Australia scheduled for Dec 1 at Raipur’s Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh stadium is facing an unexpected challenge.
NDTV reported that parts of the stadium are currently without electricity just hours before the crucial match.
The reason behind this unusual situation is an unpaid electricity bill dating back to 2009, amounting to a staggering Rs 3.16 crore.
The stadium’s electricity connection was severed five years ago due to the outstanding bill, prompting the Chhattisgarh State Cricket Association to secure a temporary connection, stated the report.
However, this temporary arrangement only covers the spectators’ gallery and boxes, leaving the floodlights during the match reliant on generators.
Raipur Rural Circle in-charge, Ashok Khandelwal, revealed that the Cricket Association has applied to upgrade the temporary connection’s capacity from 200 KV to 1 thousand KV.
While the application has been approved, work on the upgrade is yet to commence.
The stadium’s electricity bill dilemma came to light in 2018 when athletes participating in a half-marathon discovered a lack of electricity supply.
Responsibility for the unpaid power bill has become a point of contention between the Public Works Department (PWD), responsible for stadium maintenance, and the Sports Department, handling remaining expenses.
Multiple notice, No action
Despite receiving multiple notices from the electricity company, neither the PWD nor the Sports Department has made any payments. Since the power connection was cut in 2018, the stadium has hosted three international cricket matches, relying on generators for electricity during significant events.
Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh media coordinator, Tarunesh Singh Parihar, expressed scepticism about hosting future international matches due to the persistent issue.
He highlighted the use of generators as an alternative arrangement for significant matches, emphasising the uncertainty surrounding the outstanding electricity bill for stadium lights.