After a few hours' delay, the gates of Dharamsala cricket stadium finally opened on Wednesday after Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) got its possession along with other properties following a high court order.
The district administration issued the orders to hand over the international cricket stadium and high end hotel The Pavilion to HPCA at around 5:30pm after the cricket body officials provided a certified copy of the court's order.
The process of handing over the property in the stadium complex will start on Thursday morning. The Himachal Pradesh high court on Tuesday had restored the possession of Dharamshala international cricket stadium to Anurag Thakur-led Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).
The stadium was taken over by the government on October 26 midnight, hours after the cabinet meeting presided over by Virbhadra Singh, who ordered cancellation of the land lease and directed deputy commission Kangra C Palrasu to immediately take possession of the property dislodging the HPCA.
The properties of the state cricket body in Shimla and Hamirpur were also taken over by government.
The court in its interim order had directed the state government to restore a status quo -the position prevailing before October 26, 2013-the day when the state cabinet cancelled the land lease of the HPCA and also took over its possession forcibly.
The court had also stayed the operation of the order passed by the principal secretary (revenue) relating to cancellation of the lease granted to the HPCA for building its world-class stadium and a five-star luxury hotel -The Pavilion.
“We have received the orders to take possession of the cricket stadium and other properties from the district administration. Formally the gates of the stadium have been opened,” HPCA spokesperson, Sanjay Sharma said.
“We will take possession of other properties including that of The Pavilion tomorrow as the orders were delayed,” Sharma said, adding that for the rest of the assets, the HPCA was awaiting orders from the district administration concerned for restoration as per the court orders.
Officials rue delay in issuing orders
Earlier, the HPCA officials also had an argument with C Palrasu, Kangra DC, after he sought time to issue the orders.
The sports body officials were trying to get the orders since afternoon. The HPCA received the copy of the high court order through e-mail in the afternoon, following which the cricket body officials immediately approached the deputy commissioner's office.
As the district administration chief was not present in the office, the HPCA office bearers again approached him at around 4:30pm, following which the DC sought certified copy of the high court order. The orders were then issued at 5:30pm.
Meanwhile, expressing happiness over court's order, Sharma said the HPCA had all along maintained that the government's action against the sports body was unconstitutional, undemocratic and against the law of the land.
“Our stand has been vetted by the high court that government denied natural justice, while taking over the assets of HPCA,” Sharma said.
“We reaffirm our commitment towards the development of the game in Himachal and are committed to host the schedules of the BCCI and HPCA matches,” Sharma said, adding that more world-class infrastructure and facilities would be created in state.