The Siliguri-Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) has sent a proposal to the state government for setting up a comprehensive sports complex including a cricket ground in Kawakhali, a township located at the southern end of Siliguri.
The decision made by SJDA to write to the state government for the sports complex comes at a time the demand for a cricket stadium is steadily gaining ground in Siliguri.
“A proposal for setting up a sports complex with a cricket ground was adopted at the board meeting of the SJDA. We have proposed that the sports infrastructure can come up in Kawakhali and have sent it to the state urban development department for approval,” said Nantu Paul, the vice-president of the SJDA.
He said that the SJDA already had earmarked a 15-acre plot for the proposed sports complex.
“Within the complex, we have proposed a full-fledged cricket ground with spectators’ gallery. The complex will also have an athletics track and facilities for indoor games such as table tennis and a multi gym. The facility can help the promising players of the city with regular practice and can also be a venue for various tournaments,” added Paul.
Siliguri is known as a city that has given some ace table tennis players to the country, from Ganesh Kundu to Mantu Ghosh in the 1980s and 1990s. However, during the past one decade, Siliguri has also come up with some fine cricketers, including Wriddhiman Saha and Richa Ghosh.
During the past few months, the demand for a cricket stadium has grown louder in the city that also boasts the Kanchenjunga Stadium which has hosted several prominent football matches.
Recently, a group of cricket enthusiasts submitted a memorandum to the state tourism minister Gautam Deb, who is also a resident of the city, urging him to take up the demand with the state in earnest.
Also, the Siliguri Cricket Lovers’ Welfare Organisation, which earlier held signature campaigns and street corners to drum up support for the demand for s stadium, sent a memorandum to the chief minister on the issue a couple of days back.
“A number of promising cricketers have emerged in the city. Despite not having an appropriate cricket ground here, they have proved their talent in international and domestic tournaments. We believe that once a ground is set up here, it would help more talented cricketers emerge. We have appealed to the chief minister to take necessary steps to establish an exclusive cricket stadium here,” said Manoj Verma, president of the association.
Jayanta Bhowmik, Wriddhiman’s coach, echoed Verma to say that from Siliguri, a number of cricketers have been of late representing the state team in various tourneys.
“We need a proper facility for them. Also, if developed in a proper manner, the stadium can be a second ground in the state for international cricket matches after Eden Gardens,” said Bhowmik.