GUWAHATI: The Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh stadium in Raipur is grappling with a power crisis just hours before the crucial fourth T20 international between India and Australia, as parts of the stadium remain without electricity.
The reason behind this unexpected outage is an unpaid electricity bill that has accumulated since 2009, amounting to a staggering ₹3.16 crore, reported a national news channel.
Detailing the “power crisis”, the channel reported that five years ago, the electricity connection at the stadium was severed due to the outstanding bill, leading to a temporary connection being installed at the request of the Chhattisgarh State Cricket Association.
However, this temporary connection only covers the spectators’ gallery and boxes, leaving the floodlights necessary for the match to be powered by generators.
Raipur Rural Circle in-charge, Ashok Khandelwal, told the channel that the Cricket Association has applied to increase the capacity of the temporary connection.
Currently set at 200 KV, an application to upgrade it to 1,000 KV has been approved, but the actual work on this enhancement is yet to commence.
The stadium’s unpaid power bill has been a contentious issue between the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Sports Department.
After the stadium’s construction, the maintenance responsibility was handed over to the PWD, while the Sports Department was tasked with covering the remaining expenses.
The blame game between the two departments has hindered the settlement of the overdue electricity bill.
Despite multiple notices from the electricity company urging clearance of the outstanding dues, neither the PWD nor the Sports Department has made any payments.
The situation came to light in 2018 when athletes participating in a half-marathon discovered the lack of electricity supply at the stadium, leading to an uproar.
As the authorities work towards resolving the power crisis, the match is expected to proceed with alternative arrangements for the floodlights.