TNCA official hopeful of reopening Chepauk stands

The contentious ‘I, J and K’ stands may be re-opened ahead of the Australia ODI in September, according to TNCA joint secretary R.I. Palani.

The I, J and K stands at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk) in Chennai can seat nearly 12,000 spectators.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) is confident that the contentious ‘I, J and K’ stands will be thrown open to the public for the India-Australia ODI at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on September 17.

The TNCA has initiated talks with the State Government in this regard and according to sources, the response has been positive.

“Even if the clearance is only for a one-off match like the India-Australia game, it is all right for the TNCA. As many as 12,000 additional seats will be available for the public,” the TNCA joint secretary R.I. Palani told Sportstar here on Friday.

He added, “Such a move by the Government will be extremely popular with the cricket fans in the city and State. We are very hopeful this time of a positive outcome regarding the stands.”

As for the pricing of the tickets for the ODI, he said the consumer will have to bear the GST. “We can do nothing about the taxes and the GST. He would need to shell out Rs. 800 for a Rs. 500 ticket, Rs. 3000 for 1800, and Rs. 8000 for Rs. 5000.”

The TNCA held its executive meeting, chaired by senior vice-president P.S. Raman, here on Friday. Former ICC and BCCI chief, N. Srinivasan was invited to the meeting since the executive panel wanted to thank him for India Cements sponsoring the TNPL.

Talking about the TNCA’s lease for M.A. Chidambaram Stadium running out, Palani said, “You know the previous lease ended in 1995, we applied the same year and the approval came only in 2004 for a 20-year period that concluded till 2015. So, this is nothing new. The process takes its own time.”

He said “We have been getting permission from the State government to hold various matches and we have got most of the clearances for the India-Australia match too.”

Reacting to the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) report that the TNCA owed the Government more than Rs. 2081 crore in revenue between 2000 and 2016, Palani said, “Only for the last 10 years we have been getting between Rs. 25 to 30 crore from the BCCI every year. Even if you include the numbers from the last 10 years it would only be around Rs. 300 crore plus close to Rs. 50 crore in gate collections.”

Palani said, “The money given to the TNCA by the BCCI is not used for any commercial purpose. We spend it on infrastructure and put some money in fixed deposits.

“In fact, we have spent close to Rs. 200 crore on creating new infrastructure. There is no way we could have made Rs. 2081 crore. There is no way, we, or that matter anybody else, can pay the government that kind of money,” he noted.

Palani also revealed that the Australian cricket team would be in Chennai from September 8 and was scheduled to play a practice match ahead of the first ODI on September 17.

The TNCA joint secretary said, “We have asked the BCCI for an advance to host the Aussies for more than 10 days. The police security, expensive, will cost more this time since the teams will be staying in two different hotels,Crowne Plaza and Taj Coramandel.”

It has been learnt by Sportstar that the BCCI has offered the TNCA just Rs. One lakh for conducting the practice game which the State Association feels does not even come close to meeting the requirements.

Regarding the payment to the State cricketers for figuring in last season’s Ranji Trophy, Palani said, “The TNCA has fulfilled all its commitments like giving the allowances to the players. It is for the BCCI to pay the cricketers match fee. We have asked them to release the money.”

He said, “In fact, the BCCI owes the TNCA Rs. 4.50 crore for the expenses incurred while staging the Board matches in Tamil Nadu last season.”