Punjab stadium faces govt takeover

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
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Chandigarh: The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium at Mohali, on the outskirts of Chandigarh, faces the prospect of government takeover for non-payment of millions of rupees by way of entertainment tax arrears.

The orders for attachment of the stadium, often compared in grandness to Lord's and the Melbourne Cricket Grounds in Australia, were delivered to Mohali local authorities by the government's excise and taxation department.

Confirming this, Punjab excise and taxation commissioner Sudhir Mittal told India Abroad News Service ' that the PCA stadium owed the government Rs 32 million by way of entertainment tax arrears.

Mittal, who also happens to be the PCA treasurer, acknowledged the irony, saying, "You may call it a case of hangman being executed too."

The Mohali cricket stadium has been involved in controversies ever since it was conceived by former chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India I S Bindra, who is also the president of the PCA and a senior civil servant.

Both Bindra and Punjab chief secretary R S Mann have just emerged from prolonged legal battles following CBI investigations into alleged irregularities committed in the process of acquiring land and raising funds for the stadium and its prestigious Club House.

The stadium has a seating capacity of 45,000, the second largest in the country after Eden Gardens of Calcutta. Official sources said though orders for attachment of the property had been sent to Mohali revenue officials, they had not been carried out.

PCA chief Bindra was said to be engaged in hectic consultations to prevent a stadium takeover. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was understood to have been approached in a bid to get a waiver on the entertainment tax.

India Abroad News Service

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