WITH shifting of NCC quarters from the south side, the hurdles for a full-fledged Berhampur Stadium in the city have been cleared. The stadium, earlier known as Barracks Ground on an area of over 20 acres, was used by the Britishers as armoury depot. Later, the ground came under the control of Defence wing which constructed quarters on its south and west sides. The Defence wing accommodated Army officials entrusted with NCC by using almost half of the ground and left the rest of the portion for public use.
For several decades, the ground was used to hold public meetings, parades, circus, exhibition as well national level football tournaments by covering the boundary temporarily. The portion of the ground later came under the control of the State Government.
Owing to growing public demand, the then chief minister J B Patnaik agreed to construct the stadium during the 80s. Accordingly, Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation Limited was entrusted with the construction work. Though galleries on three sides of the stadium were constructed on an area of 8.5 acres, no work could be taken up on the south and a portion of west side as the Defence wing refused to part with it.
In 1986, the incomplete stadium was inaugurated and the Sports department took it under its control. However, the struggle to get the rest of the land from the Defence wing continued till recently. This month, the Defence Ministry handed over land in south side of the stadium to the district administration. As a temporary measure, the Army officials have been provided rented accommodation by the authorities.
The State Government will provide Army officials four quarters at a suitable place within a year as well `1 crore as compensation, said Ganjam district Sports Officer Prasant Kumar Sahu. The existing quarters would be demolished and work on the gallery will start soon, he added.
Now, the stadium would have more than 20 rooms beneath the galleries and two entrance gates. Along with construction of gallery and boundary on the south side of the ground, another entrance gate will come up. The stadium will also have a swimming pool and press gallery, Sahu said and added that stadium, once completed, will be of international standards.
newindianexpress.com, 6th December 2017