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IPL venue in dark for two days

- JSCA officials sniff cable sabotage, political vendetta

Jharkhand’s prestigious cricket outfit has been rendered powerless, literally.

Ahead of the twin-match IPL-7 extravaganza early next month, the JSCA’s showpiece stadium in Dhurwa, Ranchi, has been condemned to darkness by what officials suspect is not just manmade, but well-planned political vendetta.

It has been over 48 hours since Saturday night that electricity supply to the sprawling 1,30,000sqm premier league venue has been disrupted, shaming JSCA members in front of high-profile visitors including franchisee officials who are camping at the touted world-class complex in the wake of the T20 tourney.

After two days of extensive investigations, state power board engineers reached the root of the problem on Monday. They found 1,000KVA underground cables, which supply power to the stadium from the main feeder near the Assembly building2.5km away, badly gnawed in places.

The JSCA has immediately smelt a rat. Officials, who have been working overtime for a flawless show this year, dubbed the discovery a deliberate attempt to impose blackout on match days and malign them.

Without making direct attack or naming anyone, JSCA boss Amitabh Choudhary — who is trying his Lok Sabha luck on a JVM ticket from Ranchi — said a layman could not have damaged cables embedded deep into the ground, hinting at professional service hired by his political rivals.

“Why would any layman do it? How is it possible to corrupt cables that are underground? Everyone knows about the people who are our long-standing rivals. CSK officials are here, IMG guys are here. No one has been able to work properly owing to the power pangs. The generator sets too are giving up now. It’s a shame to stoop so low as to ruin Jharkhand’s reputation (for personal gain),” Choudhary told The Telegraph over phone.

A.K. Singh, the chief executive officer of JSCA who was part of the probe team, pointed out that the cables were strong and around 3.5 inches in diameter. “The line has been cut in places, causing short-circuit,” he said.

District power officials did not rule out sabotage.

Yeh puri badmashi lagti hai (It looks like the job of mischief-mongers),” conceded Gopal Manjhi, the executive engineer of Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (formerly JSEB) in Ranchi.

“Underground cables are hard to access, let alone damage without thorough planning. The supply anomaly was unnatural. The Vidhan Sabha feeder powers the Assembly, the stadium and HEC areas. We failed to understand why the stadium alone was suffering in the dark. It took us two days to find the fault areas,” Manjhi told The Telegraph.

He added that the JSCA would have to bear repair costs while they had offered manpower to fix the problem. “Normal supply is expected to be restored in day or two.”

Ranchi has bagged two IPL matches this time. While Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders on May 2, CSK will play the Rajasthan Royals on May 13.

In September last year, the JSCA was left red in the face when the international stadium complex suffered a 10-minute blackout during the T20 Champions League. A rerun would not just be lethal for the image of the JSCA boss, who is awaiting poll verdict on May 16, but also for the state’s reputation on world stage.

Do you fear blackout during the twin IPL matches?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com