BCCI picks and chooses

While its bigger affiliated units get all the assistance, smaller ones are suffering.

Children play cricket in Bahir Jonai, a village in the North Eastern state of Assam.

Late last year, Indian cricket Board president N Srinivasan revived the New Areas Development Programme (NADP), but no concrete steps have been taken to assist under privileged regions, like the north-eastern states.

Not a single meeting of the committee, which is supposed to recommend assistance to states like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram to raise the standard of cricket, has been held since its revival.

Cricket administrators in north-east say they are facing lots of problems in their bid to develop the game. Barring a visit by a former member of the Jagmohan Dalmiya-headed NADP, “nothing has been done” in the last one year, they claim.

This is a classic case of BCCI ignoring its smaller constituents while the resourceful ones continue to flourish. For instance, a BCCI full member can get up to Rs 50 crore as infrastructure subsidy, besides a share from the profit made through media rights and IPL. N Bhattacharjee, secretary of the Meghalaya Cricket Association, said Chitrak Mitra, a member of the committee when it was revived last year, visited some of the north-eastern states in June.

Mitra also opened an academy meant for youngsters.

“He visited Shillong on June 2 and then Imphal and Kohima. He also submitted a report to the BCCI on his visit, but nothing has been done in the last one year. We are facing a lot of problems. The last year was a waste,” Bhattacharjee told Mail Today.

“We have given a lot of proposals to the BCCI. But not a single meeting of the NADP has been held. I have been requesting Mr Dalmiya to do something, but nothing has transpired so far,” he claimed. “Since there is heavy rainfall in this region, we need indoor cricket facility. That’s an immediate necessity.” It, however, remains to be seen if Mitra’s report would still be taken into account as he is no more part of the committee.

Manipur Cricket Association secretary Haobam Biramangol Singh agrees with Bhattacharjee.

“Mitra along with BCCI manager (cricket operations) Suru Nayak visited Imphal in June, and then a report was submitted. But the work is yet to be taken up,” Singh told Mail Today. “We were told at the BCCI annual general body meeting [on September 27] that a meeting of the NADP will be held within 10 days. But so far it hasn’t taken place.”

Singh also pointed out that a lot of work needs to be done to give a boost to the game in Manipur. “We need everything – finance, equipment, ground equipment etc.,” he said. He informed that the state has 16 coaches, who are sufficient at present. “But if we have to progress, we will need more.” The association can, meanwhile, hope to use on lease the upcoming Luwangpokpa Cricket ground, being built by the government.

Sources say NADP was revived as part of a ‘deal’ between Srinivasan and Dalmiya, who had originally launched it in 2003. A former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Dalmiya admitted that no date for the first meeting has been fixed.

“No date has been decided. But the meeting will be held next month. Since the new, smaller committee was formed nothing much has been done,” Dalmiya, also president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, told Mail Today. “Let there be the first meeting, then I will be able to say something more.” He, however, emphasised that there is a genuine aim to assist the smaller states. “That committee has been made smaller shows that the Board means business,” Dalmiya quipped.

Asked if all the Union Territories would remain part of NADP’s purview, Dalmiya was not too sure. “We have to wait and see what the new committee members say, what is the BCCI formula,” he said.

When the NADP was launched nine years ago, the idea behind the move was to unearth talent and develop the game in places like Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Pondicherry and Sikkim.

Despite the inordinate delay, Bhattacharjee is banking on hope.

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