Forced to lose more than 500 seats in a bid to comply with South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s 60-point checklist, the Ferozshah Kotla is staring at another reduction in stadium capacity after the Delhi High Court “refused to take up the issue” of the RP Mehra block (Old Clubhouse), which falls within 100 meters of the historic Kotla Baoli, and part of the stadium yet to given clearance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
In the absence of a court directive, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) is planning not to sell tickets of the Old Clubhouse block for the upcoming World T20 fixtures.
Justice Mukul Mudgal, appointed by the high court to supervise match preparations at the Kotla, shot a mail to DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan and treasurer Ravinder Manchanda suggesting that the association should not sell the 2,200 tickets of the Old Clubhouse. While Kotla hosts non-India matches and women’s fixtures in the group stages, the semi-final, which may feature India, could rob around 3,000 spectators a chance to see the hosts in action.
Besides fans, the RP Mehra block also houses the media, production staff and commentary crew on match days and the DDCA is yet to give a thought to this issue. From gloating in the success of getting the occupancy certificate from the SDMC, there’s fresh confusion within the DDCA.
“Neither the court allowed us to go ahead with the RP Mehra block nor refused. It’s a very confusing situation for us. The senior management will have a meeting with Justice Mudgal on Wednesday and see what is the best way forward,” a senior DDCA official said.
On Tuesday the DDCA counsel informed the high court bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vibhu Bakhru that the association would be ready to submit an undertaking to demolish the RP Mehra block. The bench, however, refused to take up the issue, observing that the question of clearance from the ASI was “between the DDCA and the authorities”.
The bench also noted that the NOC and occupancy certificate granted by the SDMC on Monday was for the A, B and C blocks, which were part of the “sanctioned plans”. SDMC counsel Gaurang Kanth also informed the court that the SDMC certificate did not include the Old Clubhouse area.