The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Minister bats for Sourav
- Writers’ meeting resolves cricket cradle funds row

It took an hour-long emergency meeting on Monday, chaired by a minister, to work out a solution formula for Videocon School of Cricket, the showpiece training academy stroked open by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee last October.

“Everything has been sorted out… Videocon will definitely remain the title sponsor and support the academy according to the agreement,” announced Asok Bhattacharya, urban development and municipal affairs minister.

The meeting was convened in the wake of a report in The Telegraph on Monday on the growing differences between Videocon and 22 Yards — partners in running the Salt Lake cricket school — over funding patterns.

Sourav Ganguly and elder brother Snehasish are the promoters of 22 Yards. Snehasish had gone on record saying Videocon had not released funds for the academy as specified in the agreement.

Both Snehasish and Videocon representative Goutam Sengupta attended Monday’s meeting at Writers’ Buildings.

“All issues have been settled and now we are looking forward to further betterment of the academy,” said a relieved Snehasish, managing director, 22 Yards.

“We are happy with the role played by the minister in settling the matter,” said Sengupta.

It was learnt that Videocon has promised to cough up the remaining amount needed as capital investment for the academy. The company has paid Rs 85 lakh till now, while the total cost incurred has been Rs 1.4 crore since October 2005.

It has also been agreed upon — as demanded by Videocon — that 22 Yards would bear the academy’s regular operating cost from revenues, generated through student fees.

The academy has about 950 cricket trainees, who pay a monthly fee of Rs 400 for twice-a-week sessions at the academy’s lush green facility in Salt Lake.

Videocon has also pledged regular contributions to a fund for long-term development of the academy.

“We have a committee with representatives from the government, 22 Yards and Videocon. All these issues will be formalised in the committee’s next meeting later this month,” said Bhattacharya.

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