Metro not to hit cricket at Mumbai's Azad, Oval maidans

Metro not to hit cricket at Mumbai's Azad, Oval maidans

The construction of Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 corridor, one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects of Mumbai, will not require closing down of Oval Maidan and Azad Maidan, the two grounds that are part of the city’s heritage and  earned for it the sobriquet, “Mecca of cricket”.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on Monday announced the good news that every Mumbaikar wanted to hear. “Cricket pitches or matches at the Oval Maidan will not be disturbed during the construction of the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 corridor. However, a few cricket pitches at Azad Maidan will be required to be relocated and we are  working closely with the Sports Department to ensure that majority of the cricketing activity continues at Azad Maidan,” said Ashwini Bhide, Managing Director, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC).

Ashwini was responding to a movement by cricket loving community fearing that the cricketing activities will be completely disturbed and both the grounds will be usurped by the impending construction of the Metro-3 corridor.

Oval Maidan is spread over 9 hectares (90,000 square metres) of land and the Metro-3 corridor will require, temporarily, just about 0.39 hectares  (3,900 square meters), about 4 per cent of the entire Oval ground, towards its north only during the project implementation period of 3 to 4 years and will be restored and returned post construction. “Since the plot required is very small and is towards the northern side of the ground, there is no likelihood of causing any disturbance to the cricketing activity at the Oval,” she said.

As far as the Azad Maidan is concerned, it admeasures 20 hectares (2 lakh square metres) and the corridor requires, temporarily, a very small portion of 3.27 Hectares  — 32,687 square metres — 16 per cent of the entire Azad Maidan  behind the Mumbai Press Club which portion will also be restored – and restored with better entry and exit facilities. Here, at Azad Maidan, a few cricket pitches will be relocated in consultation with the Sports department.

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