Kotla hosting matches sans safety clearance

The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, the only international cricket ground in Delhi, has been hosting international matches without the mandatory structural safety and fire safety certificates.

Adjudicating over an appeal filed by RTI applicants Subhash Agrawal and Lok Sabha MP Kirti Azad, Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu has said the unified Delhi Municipal Corporation had earlier granted permission to the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) to hold international matches on the ground at “its own risk”.

The replies to RTI applications show the civic body officers, while issuing provisional occupancy certificates, had also asked the DDCA to furnish an undertaking that the civic body will not be responsible for any untoward incident when occupancy lies with the cricket association.

The Corporation has issued provisional certificate on nine occasions to the DDCA – with the latest given by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation for the India Pakistan one-day international played at the stadium on January 6, 2013.

“The information provided reflects the concern of the MCD officials regarding the safety aspect. More than once they have recommended that the provisional occupancy certificate not be issued in the absence of the required documents,” Sandhu said.

The commissioner further added that notings made by MCD officials also reveal that the DDCA, as on January 4, 2013, owed Rs 8.67 crore property tax to the South Corporation.
Meanwhile, SDMC Mayor Savita Gupta said she gave her nod for the recently held India-Pakistan ODI as “only the issue related to tax dues was brought before her while seeking permission.”

The departments concerned have to look into the issues of clearance, said the mayor. “However, the matter of tax dues was brought before me. The corporation gave permission as the match was very important and the prime minister was to attend it.
Moreover, the DDCA cleared some dues and they have also committed to clear the dues soon,” said Gupta.

The mayor said the corporation will not give permission to hold the next international match till the DDCA clears all its dues.

“The next match at the stadium is scheduled for February 22. Permission will not be granted if all dues are not cleared by then,” she said.

The fourth test match between India and Australia is scheduled between February 22 and 26.

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