Greater Cochin Development Authority referendum empowers the public to decide whether their city should be made a venue for test match cricket.

The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) has come up with an idea for holding a unique referendum, perhaps the first of its kind anywhere in the country.

For, it effectively empowers the public to decide whether their city should be made a venue for test match cricket.

The GCDA has opted for an online referendum to assess public opinion on leasing the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium owned by it to the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) for 30 years. It is one of the preconditions for considering the KCA’s claim to be allotted test match cricket.

GCDA Chairman N. Venugopal announced the decision to approach the people on this issue at a press conference held here on Tuesday. The development agency seems to have pre-empted the possibility of a public outcry since the issue involved long-term leasing of one of its vital assets.

The online referendum will feature two questions. While the first one seeks the public opinion on whether Kerala needs to host test matches, the second one is more direct where the public will be asked whether the stadium should be leased out to the KCA for 30 years.

The public can air their opinion on the website www.gcdaonline.com or on the GCDA Kerala page on Facebook and twitter. Voting will be open till October 30.

The GCDA executive meeting to be held thereafter will take a decision on the matter based on the public opinion elicited through online voting.

The KCA and the Kerala Football Association (KFA) have already reached a consensus on the use of the stadium. Cricket and football matches will be scheduled in the stadium based on an understanding reached between the two associations.

Mr. Venugopal said that the KFA has already conveyed its non-objection on leasing out the stadium to the KCA on a long-term basis. Office space and common facilities in the stadium will be split equally between the two associations.

The KCA, to be allotted a test match, should either have a stadium or possess one on long-term lease. The stadium has been leased to the KCA for a five-year period. The KCA has sought a 30-year lease citing the necessity for such an arrangement for holding test matches.

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