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Red tape win on Mahi pitch
- State dithers on promised acres for sports academy

Ranchi, Dec. 9: A forward defensive prod may well be Jharkhand government’s answer to MSD’s spanking helicopter shot.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni found time to grace a felicitation ceremony to honour Jharkhand’s medallists in the 34th National Games with long-overdue cash prizes this evening, but the state government has hit the pause button over transferring land to the Indian cricket team skipper for his dream sports academy.

“We have not received any proposal so far from the South Chotanagpur commissionary. As a result, there is no question now of giving land papers for a sports academy to be developed by the distinguished sportsperson,” special secretary in the state revenue and land reforms department A.K. Rastogi told The Telegraph.

Principal secretary in the revenue and land reforms department N.N. Pandey nearly repeated the words of Rastogi, who also acts as director (land acquisition).

“I have not gone through any proposal for granting land for a sports academy. If it reaches us, we will definitely refer the proposal for the consent of the minister (Mathura Prasad Mahto) and subsequently for a nod of the state cabinet. But let the proposal arrive first,” said Pandey.

Ten days earlier, the Ranchi district administration had identified 12.5 acres in Simaliya mouza under Kanke circle. The proposal was then sent to the South Chotanagpur commissionary a week ago.

South Chotanagpur commissioner Satendra Singh, also the state IT secretary, had told The Telegraph on Monday that they had forwarded the proposal to the revenue and land reforms department.

Similar to the opening salvo in an ODI followed by the trudge in the middle overs, the proposal seems to have stuck midway in the bureaucratic maze with the administration not owning responsibility.

The land identified for Dhoni’s academy is situated in Nayatoli Simaliya, a hamlet in Kanke circle near Ratu. The plot is located on the outskirts of the state capital, about 15km from the district headquarters, with the upcoming ring road slated to bypass the village.

The gair majrua (government) land, deemed suitable for easy transfer, is surrounded by agricultural fields and can be reached from Ranchi either via Ranchi-Katahal More road or through Ranchi-Ratu road.

Dhoni also owns a farmhouse near Simaliya village, which he frequents every time he visits his Harmu home.

After he had led India to a World Cup triumph in April, chief minister Arjun Munda had promised to offer land to Jharkhand’s favourite icon, who had expressed his interest to set up a sports academy in Ranchi to train local youths in cricket as well as other games.

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