Himachal Government cancels lease of HPCA, takes over Stadium
Shimla/Dharamsala: The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association finds itself at the center of a political tug of war with the Congress-led state government taking over its charge, which was in the hands of opposition BJP MP Anurag Thakur, besides cancelling the lease of lands given to the HPCA.
The government has also taken over luxury hotel `The Pavilion`, which was on the land leased to HPCA, in a swift operation past midnight.
The action followed a marathon meeting of state cabinet presided over by chief minister Virbhadra Singh which decided to cancel the lease of land given to HPCA.
Simultaneously, the government directed the Deputy commissioner Kangra to take necessary action to take over the HPCA properties.
A team of district administration officials comprising Additional Deputy Commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur, Additional District Magistrate Rakesh Sharma and Sub-Divisional Magistrate Harish Gajju took possession of the stadium by breaking open the locks after the Chowkidar refused to hand over the keys.
District Sports Officer, Mahender Pratap Bharadiya has been given the charge of the stadium.
HPCA spokesperson Sanjay Sharma, who reached the spot after the official had entered the stadium, opposed the authorities by saying that the cricket body was not informed about the action on time.
The authorities told the HPCA official that no activity could be undertaken in the stadium without permission.
Later the authorities also took over `The Pavilion` around 2:50am while another stadium of the cricket body at Nadaun in adjoining Hamirpur district was taken over at 3.00am.
The entire operation was kept a guarded secret and no minister or senior bureaucrat was available for comments. But the matter became public knowledge when the Revenue staff and police reached the Stadium past midnight.
The state Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau had registered a case against HPCA on August 1 last and the registrar Cooperative Societies had served a show cause notice to HPCA on September 7 asking it to explain how the society was converted into a registered Company.
Additional Chief Secretary Deepak Shanan and the then Kangra Deputy Commissioner R S Gupta had already been charge-sheeted on the issue of giving land to HPCA.
Two days ago, Anurag Thakur had challenged the chief minister to take "whatever action he can against the HPCA" and entered the office of Vigilance Bureau alongwith his supporters.
The cabinet has also decided to cancel the lease granted in favour of the HPCA at Luhnu in Bilaspur, Nadaun in Hamirpur, Gumma and Lalpani in Shimla.