Shimla : The CPIM alleged here Sunday that the land mafia and the ruling BJP were planning to take over the historic Annandale ground in this Himachal Pradesh capital in the garb of converting it into a BCCI stadium .
“We are now convinced that the campaign to take over the Annandale ground is backed by land mafia who have both direct and tacit support of the Dhumal led BJP government ,” said Tikender Panwar senior CPM leader .
“The signature campaign launched by the Himachal Pradesh cricket association (HPCA) to take over this sprawling ground and convert it into a BCCI stadium smacks of vested interest and is an easy way to allow builders to take over one of the most majestic places in Shimla and convert it into a concrete jungle ,” Panwar said.
“Recent buying of land by some influential people measuring several bighas at the edge of the Annandale ground reveals the future plans of these people who are very close to the ruling government ,” Panwar alleged .
“There is a close connection between the HPCA some BJP leaders who are working in connivance to take over the ground under the guise of converting it into a stadium ,” he said .
“The people of Shimla are being fooled as the HPCA’s signature campaign to take back the ground from the defense ministry is clearly guided by these vested interests ,” said Panwar .
The CPIM has further alleged that revenue officials have conspired by converting the forest land into grassland to allow construction of houses .
The party has asked for a vigilance inquiry to see how a dense forest at the edge of the ground has been converted into a grassland .
He said once the defense ministry hands over the ground to the state government there is no need to build a cricket stadium here .
“The ground should be allowed to remain natural and sports activities and local festivals should be celebrated here as Shimla lacks flat space ,” Panwar said .
Annandale, since its inception by the British in the 1830s was the haunt of Anglo-Indian playful activities, amusements and entertainments.
It was a place for picnic parties , fetes , fancy fairs races and polo matches and other sports activities .
The Durand cup football was started here in 1888 but was later shifted to Calcutta .
In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.
The sanctity of historic Annandale ground has to be maintained. The army should not relent.
It is simply a mad idea to convert this majestic ground a cricket stadium.