Galleries were sealed by Corporation last year
Thousands of seats in the reconstructed galleries of M.A. Chidambaram Stadium are likely to remain vacant this IPL season, including during the inaugural match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians on April 4.
Over 7,000 tickets for seats in the modernised galleries will be sold only after the Chennai Corporation revokes the lock-and-seal notice issued for the new structures last year.
The Corporation had issued the notice as these galleries were built before obtaining building approvals from the civic body or planning permission from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).
Chennai Corporation Commissioner P.W.C. Davidar said the authorities of the stadium would not use the galleries till official clearance is obtained. “We are waiting for clearance from Delhi. Every time they have had a match they have not used the renovated portion of the stadium.”
Even though the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) obtained an Environmental Impact Assessment clearance this year, the Multi-Storey Building (MSB) panel of the CMDA has not yet taken up TNCA's planning-permission application for clearance.
The revocation of the lock-and-seal notice before the inauguration of IPL 5 is possible only if the MSB panel gives clearance in a meeting to be held on March 30.
The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests for infrastructure, coastal regulation zone (CRZ), and miscellaneous projects, granted environmental and CRZ clearance for the reconstruction and modernisation of the cricket stadium a few months ago. The modernisation of the 40-year-old structure was carried out to fulfil International Cricket Council requirements.
However, officials of CMDA say the structure was reconstructed without any violations. The built-up area of the structure for which EIA clearance was accorded is around 1.6 lakh sq. ft. The decision to start reconstruction work for setting up state-of-art facilities and an increased spectator capacity of 45,000 over the existing 36,000 was taken up in 2009.
The project comprises new reinforced concrete stands accommodating additional spectators with extra hospitality boxes. Horizontal gaps between the lower terrace and the upper stands were also provided to allow a sea breeze into the stadium from the east to facilitate swing of the ball.