The Akhilesh Yadav government’s showering of largesse on Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, which began soon after the Lok Sabha elections, seems to be continuing in full steam with the state sports department now setting in motion the process to upgrade an existing stadium into an international cricket stadium.
The sports department and district administration officials recently conducted a survey of the Dr Sampurnanand Sports Stadium in the temple town with Piyush Agarwal, an architect who had designed Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium, which now hosts international cricket matches.
Varanasi regional sports officer Shyam Sunder Mishra confirmed that Agrawal has been asked to submit a preliminary design for the facelift of the stadium with estimated cost to the district administration in a week. “A proposal will then be sent to the state government for further coordination with the UP Cricket Association (UPCA), central government and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for execution of the project,” Mishra said.
Officials claimed that the Dr Sampurnanand Stadium has a bigger than Kanpur’s Green Park, which is the only cricket stadium so far in the state where international matches are played.
The current seating capacity of Dr Sampurnanand Stadium is 30,000, which will be increased by another 10,000. Two more playing pitches will be developed in addition to the existing two to meet the international standards. Apart from this the existing dressing room will be developed in a multi-storey format while separate entry points will be developed, in addition to existing three, exclusively for players and other VVIPs. Floodlights would also be installed for day-night matches.
Officials said that the location of the stadium in Sigra area of Varanasi is very ideal with the international airport situated barely 20-km from the city and connected with a highway. The temple town is already a tourist destination where several lakh tourists, both foreign nationals and Indians, visit every year.
The existing stadium is under the control of Sports Directorate of UP government and presently state-level matches such as inter-university tournaments are played there. Earlier, there was a plan to upgrade the stadium for under-16 and under-19 cricket matches.