Dharamsala: The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association has reportedly been allotted two IPL matches next year – scheduled for April 16 and 18, 2010 and to be played at the HPCA stadium in Dharamsala. It may be remembered that this year too Dharamsala was to host two IPL matches but the tournament itself was shifted to South Africa due to security reasons or maybe ego clashes between BCCI and the government.
This time, besides Anurag Thakur, president of HPCA, his father Chief Minister PK Dhumal too seems to be excited about the matches, and is taking personal interest in ensuring that the state does not miss the bus this time. On Sunday he announced a host of plans for Dharamsala town to promote cricket-aided tourism. Politics aside, if the matches materialise, the state would certainly come under the arc lights.
Dhumal said besides the requirement of about 700 rooms for cricket players, officials, media teams, technicians etc. of HP Cricket Association, thousands of cricket lovers would be thronging the town to watch the matches. He said that it would be an appropriate opportunity to the local hoteliers and tradesman to generate additional income by serving the visitors in a best hospitable manner. He directed the authorities to ensure that hygienic conditions were maintained on all the sides approaching town, besides best maintenance of the roads leading to Dharamsala. He said that way side amenities, tourist spots, passages needed to be cleaned up and properly marked to guide the visitors through signages.
The Chief Minister said that tourism department would also come out with brochure depicting the tourist spots in and around the town alongwith names of hotels, guest houses, taxi stands, souvenir shops, temples and other prominent places so that visitors were allured to visit such destinations as well. He said that beautification of the entire town and its peripheries was required to be taken up on priority to give a presentable look to the visitors and cleanliness ensured round the clock all through the event.
Anurag Thakur urged the Chief Minister to extend the airport at Gaggal to accommodate landing of bigger planes carrying teams and officials and add night landing facilities. He said that the roads needed to be improved and maintained properly to accommodate expected very heavy rush of vehicles during the event.
It’s a win-win situation for cricket lovers as well as its political patrons (those controlling the game in the state) for the time being as the Dhumal camp has a clear advantage over their opponents in the Congress (their grand plan to build an alternative cricket ground near Shimla already a failure), and therefore the focussed approach is paying dividends.