Final approval to be given after general council’s nod

Much to the delight of cricket fans of the State, the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) has taken a policy decision to lease out the Jawaharlal Nehru International stadium at Kaloor to the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) for a period of 30 years.

An executive committee meeting of the GCDA held on Monday considered a request to this effect made by the KCA so that the stadium would be considered as a venue for hosting test matches in the future.

About 87 per cent of the people who participated in an online poll conducted by the GCDA to gauge public opinion on long term lease out of the stadium had favoured it, leading to Monday’s decision.

“A policy decision has been taken but the lease conditions remain to be fixed for which a committee comprising of MLAs Benny Behanan and Hibi Eden, Akbar Badusha, all members of the executive committee, and the GCDA Chairman has been formed,” GCDA Chairman N. Venugopal said.

The committee is supposed to hold separate discussions with the KCA and the Kerala Football Association (KFA) and draw up a charter, which would be placed before the GCDA general council subject to which the final approval would be given. The committee has been asked to come up with its recommendations by the middle of December so that it could be placed before the general council that is likely to be held towards the end of that month or early January.

KCA and KFA had already reached an understanding on the issue based on the consensus that the stadium would be made available for football matches as well. The GCDA, therefore, would sign separate agreements with both the cricket and football associations before leasing out the stadium.

Mr. Venugopal said that the existing lease conditions whereby the KCA pays an annual fee of Rs.10 lakh is hardly beneficial to the GCDA. A slew of financial conditions need to be worked out before leasing out the stadium. Besides, the annual lease fee, decisions need to be reached on the fee to be paid when the stadium hosts international matches, the GCDA’s entitlement when outside advertisements are placed in the stadium, rent of office space to be shared by both KCA and KFA, and the security deposit payable.

While ‘G’ sector has been decided as the VIP area for cricket matches, for football matches it would be the ‘A’ sector.

The executive committee also decided to register 3.25 acres owned by GCDA at Ambalamugal in favour of 124 families that are being provided housing there under a project named Amrithakudeeram by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math.

“A decision has been taken to give 1.80 cent to each of the 124 families subjected to the condition that it cannot be sold for a period of 20 years. The houses there were in a dilapidated condition and V.P. Sajeendran, MLA, had requested for registering the land in favour of the beneficiaries to ensure better housing. The name Amritakudeeram, however, will be retained,” Mr. Venugopal said.

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