Days after Himachal Pradesh government claimed that it was not against Indian Premier League (IPC) matches in Dharamsala, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) hit back, stating that the “negative” environment created by the state government resulted into organisers dragging their feet.
Dharamsala has missed out on IPL for the second consecutive year and the HPCA blamed the state government for Dharamsala being scrapped as a venue. Transport minister GS Bali on Monday had said that the state was keen to host matches, but Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or the organisers didn't approach the government for the same.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference here on Thursday HPCA spokesperson Sanjay Sharma said the organisers and King XI Punjab, which had made Dharamsala its home ground, dragged feet due to the “negative” environment created by the Congress government in the past three years.
The BCCI, Sharma said, doesn't correspond directly with the state government, instead the state cricket associations, which are affiliated to it, look into organising the matches and obtaining necessary permissions from the state.
“We respect Bali and also feel that had he been the chief minister, the event would have been organised smoothly,” said Sharma, adding, “However, current chief minister Virbhadra Singh's policy and intentions have hurt the sports, and not only the IPL, but also the local events organised by the HPCA have been affected.”
As far as the government's claim of promoting the cricket is concerned, Sharma said, everybody knows what happened in October 2013 when the HPCA stadium was taken over in the midnight.
Accusing the government of putting various hurdle to scuttle, the events in HPCA stadium, Sharma alleged that the license fee of a bar inside the stadium complex was increased by 100% - from Rs 25,000 to 50,000 per day.
“The orgnaisers are afraid to come here due to the unjustified taxes the state government has imposes for holding the events,” alleged Sharma, adding that even the state wanted them to cough up huge amount for a cricket and volleyball tournament as donation.
Sharma further accused the government of discriminating with the cricket players in the state. Giving example, Sharma said, while the government honoured many sportspersons on the Republic Day, Sushma Verma, who represented India in cricket tourney against England, was deliberately left out because she was associated with the sports and HPCA.
He said the government even failed to promote other sports and Himachal fared badly in the national games held in Kerala with 29th spot among 32 states. The government even failed to raise the issue when Sports Authority of India (SAI) decided to close hockey and athletics facility in its Dharamsala hostel.
It was HPCA chief and Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur who raised the issue with sports ministry after the girl athletes from SAI hostel met him, and the games were restored at Dharamsala.