Guwahati, Oct. 9: The Veteran Cricket Association of Assam (VCAA) memers, which will observe its 15th Foundation Day with a daylong programme at the R.G. Baruah sports complex here tomorrow, are unhappy with the apathy of the government over the years.
The association’s founder president Umesh Sarma, whose initiative to give the upcoming players of the city an indoor cricket practice facility never materialised in the last 15 years, when contacted by The Telegraph, reflected on the bygone days with bitterness.
“We were allotted a plot of land in a corner of the Judges Field and we started civil construction of the infrastructure with financial support from our local MPs and other resources. However, one fine morning we found the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority demolishing the facility even before it was completed.
“It was a sight of destruction in the hands of an agency meant for development in the city. It was a conspiracy that led to nipping the initiative to develop cricket in the bud,” Sarma said.
“Our compensation claim of over Rs 2.5 lakh is yet to be honoured. We had claimed it because the plot was allotted to us by the district administration following a directive by chief minister Tarun Gogoi,” Sarma, who continued to be the president for over 13 years before he was replaced by former Ranji player Naba Konwar earlier this year, said. He said the association had also moved the district administration for an alternative plot on the bank of the Brahmaputra. But this, too, was turned down.
“We had nothing to gain from the facility. We took the initiative to give a facility to the cricketers of the city who have to sit without practice for more than eight months in a year because of the long rainy season here,” the former academician explained.
The city currently has indoor facilities owned by the Assam Cricket Association at Nehru Stadium and another is coming up at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium.
On the VCAA’s future, Sarma said, “The association’s sole objective is to develop cricket in the state. It is a good sign that younger people like Naba Konwar and Nasir Gul Khan have come forward along with a whole lot of younger ex-cricketers to shoulder the mantle of this association. I hope they will take the initiatives to carry forward our motive to achieve newer heights in developing cricket.”
Apart from the abortive initiative to develop the indoor facility, the VCAA had introduced a veteran’s cricket tournament which, too, has not been organised for last few years due to dearth of a ground. The new dispensation has vowed to revive it by early next year. Having spent 14 years without an office as Sarma and his colleagues’ initiative to set up one in the indoor facility premises was aborted midway, the new dispensation has moved the Assam Cricket Association for a room in the newly-built cricket stadium at Barsapara.