Renaming exercise dampens turf opening

Hockey : Stadium named after Field Marshal Cariappa

Renaming exercise dampens turf opening

The Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports and Hockey Karnataka, in a sudden and surprise move, renamed the stadium at Shantinagar as Field Marshal K M Cariappa Stadium, a move that has not gone down well with Hockey Bengaluru.

Soon after the inauguration of the blue astro-turf pitch, laid at a cost of Rs 3.75 crore, DYES Director Anupam Agarwal said the venue has been rechristened Field Marshal K M Cariappa Stadium as a tribute to the first Indian commander-in-chief of the Indian Army.

“It’s completely wrong on the part of DYES to change the name of the stadium without taking us into consideration. The entire property has been leased out to us by the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) and we’ve been paying the taxes. We want to know whether due procedures were followed towards renaming of the stadium,” said Hockey Bengaluru secretary K Krishnamurthy.

“We were not consulted. Was the BBMP consulted? Has the DYES got approval from the Cabinet? From what I hear even the Sports Authority of Karnataka has not been apprised of such a move. Do they have a gazetted document approving the name change? We are not against Cariappa who has served the country with dignity and made the State proud. 

We are just peeved that proper procedures were not followed. Why such a hurry to rename the stadium. We will be taking up the matter with the State government through our patron NA Harris (MLA of Shantinagar),” he added.

Agarwal, however, said the decision to change the name was taken only after approval from Sports Minister Pramod Madhwaraj. “Hockey Karnataka suggested we change the name to Field Marshal K M Cariappa Stadium. We then sent it to the sports minister for approval. He approved the change. If KSHA (Hockey Bengaluru’s former name) have a problem then let them send a petition and we will consider it. As far as I am concerned they are not a legal body.”

When asked if he held a document approving the name change, Agarwal said “Sort of, yes.”  Krishnamurthy felt they’ve been consistently getting the raw deal despite having contributed immensely towards the growth of the sport. “When the decision was made to relay the pitch, we were not consulted. When the tenders were floated for the pitch and upgrading of the floodlights, we were not consulted. DYES has been consistently ignoring us. Hockey Bengaluru is a major stakeholder in the stadium. They just can’t function so unilaterally.”

Until a few years ago, the venue was referred to as KSHA Stadium before Hockey Karnataka became the governing body and they chose to address it as hockey stadium in Akkithimanahalli. KSHA later became Hockey Bengaluru and has been granted ‘associate member’ status by Hockey India.

The new turf was inaugurated by Karnataka Olympic Association President K Govindaraj. Later, an exhibition match was played between Hockey Karnataka President’s XI and Karnataka State XI.

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