PIL against renovation at Wankhede stadium

The renovation work the Wankhede Stadium, venue for many a 2011 cricket World Cup matches, may get into legal entanglement.

updated: January 13, 2010 14:22 IST
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The renovation work the Wankhede Stadium, venue for many a 2011 cricket World Cup matches, may get into legal entanglement.

A PIL has been filed contending that the permission for revamping of the stadium has been given without considering the environmental issues.

The stadium is close to the sea and falls in Coastal Regulation Zone, making environmental clearance necessary. The renovation, going on under the direct supervision of the Mumbai Cricket Association, involves reconstruction of a large portion.

The Bombay High Court, responding to the PIL filed by Mumbai resident Amit Maru challenging the permission granted by civic authorities and the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the refurbishment of the stadium, directed the ministry to produce documents pertaining to the granting of environment clearance, last week.

Petitioner Maru's lawyer YP Singh has contended that the environmental ministry gave the clearance without conducting any Environmental Impact Assessment and a division bench of Justices FI Rebello and JH Bhatia asked the ministry to produce the record.

The petitioner has also challenged the use of railway land by the MCA for the purpose of revamp.

The hearing in the case is to resume on Thursday.

Currently the stadium, built in a record six months in 1974, gives the appearance of a huge construction site with mounds of earth piled on the playing area alongside earth movers and other heavy equipment.

MCA treasurer and Cricket Board's CAO, Prof Ratnakar Shetty, said that the work was progressing as per schedule.

"There's a PIL over the east stand. Otherwise the work is progressing as per schedule," said Shetty who is also the World Cup's Tournament Director.

MCA joint secretary Hemant Waingakar was also gung-ho about the pace of work to ready the stadium and the ground host cricket's show-piece.

"We will be given back the ground (playing area) by this March after which we can start our preparations (for making the turf playable)," he said.

In the light of what happened at the Ferozshah Kotla last month when the final ODI between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned because of poor pitch, there are concerns about how the re-laid wicket would behave.

A BCCI source said the playing square and the outfield need the monsoon rains to lash it before the wickets can be prepared and matches played on them prior to the World Cup.