Plans have advanced for the development of a new 30,000-seat stadium in the city of Varanasi, with the proposed site said to have been approved by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) – financial backers of the project.
The State of Uttar Pradesh initially paved the way for the project in May by making budgetary provision to purchase a parcel of land around 15 kilometres from the city at Gunjari village in Raja Talab Tehsil.
A BCCI delegation consisting of vice-president Rajiv Shukla and secretary Jay Shah is said to have made a visit to the site on Wednesday, subsequently giving the venture the green light, according to the Times of India newspaper.
After the visit, Varanasi Commissioner, Kaushal Raj Sharma, said: “Shukla and Shah, in presence of UPCA (Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association) office-bearers including Yudhvir Singh and Uday Sinha inspected the site where 31 acres of land has already been purchased from the farmers with a fund of Rs 120 crore (£11.97m/€13.67m/$14.52m) released by the UP government. The BCCI and UPCA authorities were satisfied with the site.
“The land in Gunjari area will be given to the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association on a 30-year lease by the UP government. The lease period can be extended up to 90 years. The BCCI will fund this project for the construction of the stadium at the cost of Rs 300 crore.
“For the proposed stadium with 30,000 seating capacity, the BCCI will select a project management consultant and contractor for the construction work who have expertise in this field through tender process.
“This process may take up to two months to be completed. Therefore, the BCCI and UPCA officials decided to hold the foundation laying ceremony of the proposed stadium after completion of the process so that work on the project is started immediately after the ceremony is over.”
Varanasi is the parliamentary constituency of India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Uttar Pradesh has two other international stadia in the form of Kanpur’s Green Park and Lucknow’s Ekana Stadium, but the proposed new facility will be the first in the Purvanchal region.