Gurgaon’s Tau Devi Lal stadium left in utter neglect
GMDA CEO V Umashankar said that in the state budget, which is to be presented soon, funds will be proposed to revive the stadiumUpdated: Mar 05, 2018 17:19 IST
In its prime, the Tau Devi Lal cricket stadium in Sector 38 hosted matches of the Indian Cricket League (ICL), one-day internationals featuring the national women’s cricket team and several list A and first-class matches. Nearly 10 years since the last ICL match was played at the venue on October 30, 2008, the stadium today is a shadow of its former self.
Cobwebs and dust that today cover almost every inch of the pavilion, the wild vegetation on parts of the outfield and the uneven, broken pitch, tell a tale of neglect. Officials in Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), to whom the stadium has been transferred from Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), said that there is a plan to ensure proper upkeep of the stadium and funds for the same will be allocated soon.
According to the Huda officials, when the venue was chosen to host seven league matches of the ICL in its second and last season, almost ten years ago, heavy investment was made to refurbish the stadium. Six floodlights were erected and dressing rooms were fitted with air conditioners.
In addition, a new media centre, a broadcasting room, a third umpire’s box and an electronic scoreboard were constructed. Of these, only the floodlights remain in operational condition today.
A spot visit by the Hindustan Times revealed that shambolic state that the sporting facility is in today. The dressing rooms have given way to a makeshift gym that is being used by residents of a nearby hostel, while the third umpire’s box now has torn mattresses and luggage. The ground staff at the staff at the facility claimed that the stadium, today, is used only by youths who study at a nearby ‘coaching centre’ and often gather at the ground to pass the time.
In addition, all the equipment from the broadcasting room and media centre, including the chairs, are missing and only the numerous electrical points and tables remain.
The ground staff has no word on the fate of the electronic scoreboard, which had been set up during the ICL. Even the manually operated scoreboard is blocked from view by overgrown trees.
The only time the stadium is used for the purpose it was intended for is when local cricket competitions are held. The pitch, despite being uneven and riddled with cracks, offers a platform for the local cricketing talent to showcase their skills.
“I have been coming to the stadium since it was built to host local cricket matches. I have even been witness to several ICL matches from the stands as well. As a spectator, I felt the stadium was at par with international standards, but once the ICL was discontinued, the stadium was left to suffer wear and tear due to shoddy maintenance and upkeep. I still come to the stadium to play a few matches, but its condition is nothing compared to what it was a decade ago,” Rajat Bishnoi, a resident of Sector 14, said.
Apart from some local tournaments, the stadium also hosts government functions or events held by schools. The ground is leased out for holding events outside cricket. It also serves as a makeshift helipad and, most recently, it was the venue for the Republic Day functions in the city.
The recent transfer of responsibility for the stadium’s upkeep from the cash-strapped Huda to the newly created Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), however, has offered a glimmer of hope of a return of the stadium to its halcyon days.
Since the stadium was inaugurated on July 23, 2003, the onus of its maintenance was on the Huda. Last month, however, this task came to be assigned to the GMDA.
GMDA officials promised to bring change.
“In the budget, which is to be presented soon, funds will be proposed for the upkeep of the stadium. Our aim is to set high standards in maintenance,” V Umashankar, CEO, GMDA, said.