Condemning the Congress party led state government for introducing the sports bill in the recently concluded budget session of the assembly, the newly elected Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary and Hamipur MP Anurag Thakur Thursday said the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) would challenge the bill in the courts if it was enacted into law.
“The sole aim of the government in tabling the bill is to harass and take over HPCA, which has done excellent work by creating state-of-art infrastructure and produced players who are now performing at the national and international level,” Thakur, who is president of HPCA, said during a press conference here.
“The Himachal governor is unlikely to give his assent to the sports bill, which violates article 9 of the Indian constitution. However, if he clears the bill and it becomes law HPCA will challenge it in a court of law,” he asserted.
Thakur claimed Himachal was the first state to introduce a sports bill to control independent sports associations. “No other state government has tabled such a bill. If the Himachal government interferes in sports it’s likely the Indian Olympic Association won’t recognize any sports body from the state,” he added.
Thakur further said HPCA had taken the land legally from the state government on lease basis and had created “world class” infrastructure. “The state government can in no way take back the land given to the sports body. It wasn’t HPCA but chief minister Virbhadra Singh who has illegally registered land in his name, violating the Land Ceiling Act,” he alleged.
Thakur alleged the state government’s “negative attitude” had led to Dharamsala missing out on Indian Premium League matches for the second consecutive year. “That had badly hit tourism not only in Kangra but other districts of lower Himachal,” he added.
The BCCI secretary also asked the chief minister to divulge the details of funds received by a sports association headed by
his son, Vikramaditya Singh, from the Kings XI Punjab team for organizing a cricket tournament.
Meanwhile, Thakur also accused Virbhadra of “playing politics” over the issue of setting up a permanent campus of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh. “The way the chief minister is handling the matter reflects his anti-lower Himachal mindset.
If he was serious about setting up the varsity in lower Himachal he would have pushed for the initial proposal of 30% of the campus in Dharamsala and 70% in Dehra. The state government’s flip-flop on the issue may result Himachal losing the project,” he added.
Earlier, Thakur appeared in a local court in a case of preventing a government official from discharging his duty filed against him and others. The court has fixed the date of hearing in the case on August 22.