The Coimbatore Corporation has decided to ask the State Government for control of Nehru Stadium, which, at present, is with the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu. A resolution the civic body passed at the Thursday’s urgent council meeting said that it was interested in taking over the control of the stadium to improve infrastructure and sports. The decision to take over the control of the stadium, the only one of its kind in the city, followed complaints of irregularities by P. Rajkumar, Chairman, North Zone.

Mr. Rajkumar in his November 23 letter to the Corporation had said that since the civic body constructed and handed over the stadium to the Authority in 1988, there had not been any “considerable” improvement in sports activity in the city.

The grass turf was in bad shape. The stadium did not have a sports hostel, facilities for girl/woman athletes to change dress and toilets. This was not because the stadium did not generate enough revenue but because the authorities concerned did not allocate sufficient funds.

Mr. Rajkumar said that the annual maintenance amount the Authority spent on the stadium was “very meagre” compared to the revenue it got from the shops around the stadium, which was around Rs. 7.23 lakh a month.

Besides, he had pointed to the unauthorised closure of exits to make way for shops, each of which had rent fixed in an arbitrary manner in violation of the norms the Public Works Department had fixed. This caused a loss to the exchequer. “The SDAT charged Rs. 30,000 a month for a few shops but let a few others continue with the old rate of Rs. 5,000 or Rs. 6,000 a month.”

Considering the state of affairs, if the Corporation were to take control of the stadium, it would do a world of good to sports development in the city. As the Council debated Mr. Rajkumar’s letter, which was part of Resolution 26, a few Councillors said the possibility of having a revenue-sharing model with the SDAT could also be explored. But, finally, the Council decided against it.

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