Maintaining that the action against the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) was taken as per law, chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday said the government had no intention to control the HPCA or any other sports body.
“The government doesn't want to control any sports body, but we want them to function in a democratic way,” said Virbhadra while addressing a press conference here on Thursday.
“The HPCA was functioning in an undemocratic way. It is the only sports body where the general members don't have the voting rights. The voting is done by patrons and life members,” Virbhadra said, adding that the patrons and life members in the sports body are mostly from outside the state or the Dhumal family.
The chief minister said the Congress government has enacted a sports act in the state, but the BJP after coming to power repealed it.
“There were provisions of open membership and elections. It was also provided that the elections will be held in the presence of observers from the state sports department,” said Virbhadra.
“However, as soon as Dhumal came into power, he repealed the act and all irregularities in the HPCA started after that,” he added.
Reiterating that the government has no intention to interfere in the functioning of any sports body, Virbhadra said as far as the HPCA was concerned, action was taken after irregularities were found.
He said cricket was not the only sports and the government wanted to promote all games. “Such a huge stadium is not possible without government help. The government leased land to the HPCA to create the infrastructure.
They demanded land for a sports hostel, but built a five-star hotel and started commercial activities in it,” Virbhadra said, adding that hundreds of trees were felled illegally during the construction of the hotel.
“It was total misuse of authority and breach of trust of the government and is not acceptable. Hence, all the lease deeds of land allotted to the HPCA were cancelled,” he added. He expressed hope that a new cricket body would be constituted through election and there would be open membership in it.
“Soon after that the government will consider handing over the control of the property to the newly formed body,” said Virbhadra.
When asked that will the government be able to tie up with the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), the chief minister said the apex cricket body has not reacted adversely to the action taken by the government, but has requested to continue the game of cricket.
Maintaining that the HPCA had no role in holding the IPL matches in Dharamsala, he said Kings XI Punjab had hired the stadium from the state cricket body in the previous season of the T-20 tournament and were ready to hold matches in the coming season also.
Speaking on his tour to Kangra district, Virbhadra said all development works were going on with full pace in the region.
He also said the state government was continuously taking up the matter of expansion of Kangra Valley rail line as well as Gaggal airport with the central government.
Chief minister snubs Shanta Kumar
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh snubbed veteran BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Shanta kumar over his statement that the government should take action, but should not involve in conspiracy against leaders of opposition.
“I want to tell him respectfully that whatsoever action has been taken against the HPCA has been done as per law and the government doesn't believe in conspiracies,” he added.