Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rajshahi Floodlights


Four hundred flood light bulbs of Rajshahi Divisional Stadium are being taken to Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka for holding the day-night tri- series in June.

The decision was taken in order to prepare the Mirpur venue eligible for the international cricket match in a low cost of about Tk 2 crore. For holding international cricket matches, there must be 2200 lax lights (light unit) from the floodlight towers, but the Mirpur venue now has only 800 lax lights, as it was prepared as a football stadium.

"The present floodlights of Mirpur Stadium are eligible for holding football matches, not for cricket. This is why, floodlight bulbs of Rajshahi will be taken to Mirpur for a short period of time", said Badruddin Ahmed, deputy director, National Cricket Council of Rajshahi.

"This would save around Tk 10 crore for fresh purchase of floodlights", he said.

Activities for taking the bulbs have already started as concerned officials visited the spots and figured out methods of transferring the bulbs, he informed adding that the bulbs would be reinstalled at Rajshahi at end of the international matches.

It was learned that NEO Sports, television rights holders of any international match held in Bangladesh, have asked for the lights since India have pressed to play under lights.

Earlier Bangladesh Cricket Board sought permission of National Cricket Council for the shifting of bulbs and the plan was approved last week.

The floodlight shifting works will be ended with June 1. The tri-nation one-day series among India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is scheduled to be held between June 8 and 15.

News of the Rajshahi Divisional Stadium floodlights being taken away to Dhaka sparked sharp reaction among sport lovers here who condemned the incident and announced protest movement.

The protesters claimed that the authorities are avoiding Rajshahi in holding international cricket matches on plea of residential problems. But the divisional headquarters fulfilled all necessary requirements including quality grounds for holding the same.

However, employees sent by National Cricket Council started taking off floodlights from Rajshahi Divisional Stadium Thursday morning.

The stadium sources said it will take three days to take off the lights as 400 bulbs will be sent to Dhaka's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium for holding the tri-nation series in June involving India, Pakistan and the hosts.

Rajshahi Test Venue Movement Council (RTVMC) called for a human chain programme on Saturday demanding cancellation of the decision of shifting Rajshahi floodlights.

"We have demanded to make Rajshahi a Test venue for long and the authorities always turned a blind eye to our demand. Now they are taking away floodlights to downsize the quality of our stadium. Such move cannot be tolerated," said RTVMC convenor Liaqat Ali."If Rajshahi is not made a Test venue for residential problems, how does the Mirpur stadium qualified for international matches without floodlights?" he asked.

Rajshahi Rakkha Shangram Parisad convenor Zamat Khan said that they will go for tough movements if the steps were not cancelled immediately.

Rezaun Nabi, acting Rajshahi mayor, and all ward commissioners in a joint statement expressed deep concern at the shifting of the lights.

Rajshahi District Sports Association general secretary Imtiaj Ahmed Shamsul Huda said his association requested NCC to reconsider their decision.

Many local clubs also issued statements protesting the matter as well as demanding immediate cancellation of the decision.

Rajshahi Test Venue Movement Council (RTVMC) yesterday called off their protest programme scheduled for today following 'fruitful discussions' with the Joint Forces here over shifting of floodlights.

Liaqat Ali, convener of RTVMC said that the Joint Forces promised and took responsibility for taking back the floodlights from Dhaka.

"They promised us that they would take back the floodlights just after the international matches," he said.

National Cricket Council is taking floodlights from Rajshahi Divisional Stadium to Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Dhaka for holding the tri-nation one-day series from June 8.

Talking to newsmen, Liaqat also said that the Joint Forces promised them to convince the Chief of Army Staff Gen Moeen U Ahmed about arrangement of holding Test matches in the northwestern city.

Moeen U Ahmed is likely to visit Rajshahi soon.

However, NCC officials promised from the very beginning that the Rajshahi floodlights are being taken to Mirpur on a temporary period.

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