Dharamsala (Arvind Sharma )
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) is of the view that the new HP Sports (Registration, Recognition and Regulation of Associations) Bill 2015, brought by the present congress lead state government, is just aimed to grab HPCA . “Himachal CM Vir Bhadra Singh wants see himself at the post of President HPCA or put his son on it ,” said Sanjay sharma PRO ,HPCA in a press conference at Dharamsala on Satureday. Reacting over the above bill he said, “In 2005 when Inzmamul Haq lead Pakistani cricket team visited the country after along gap, it started its tour by playing a warm up match at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala, seeing the popularity of Anuraag thakur in and out side the stadium on that occasion , than CM Virbhadra Singh started planning to grab the association from Ex CM Dhumals son Anuraag.” Sharma further alleged that Singh brought The Himachal Pradesh Sports (Registration, Recognition And Regulation of Associations) Bill, 2005 to meet his intentions (bill was later scraped by BJP government in 2007), and some gundaas even forcefully tried to capture the stadiums of HPCA in Dharamsala and Bilaspur during the last tenure of Congress government in the state.
Sharma said that in the present tenure of this government the stadium was taken over on October 26, 2014 at mid-night within hours after the cabinet meeting, presided over by C M Virbhadra Singh ordered cancellation of the land lease and directed Deputy Commission Kangra C.Paulrasu to immediate take possession of the property dislodging the HPCA. This decision was challenged at hon’ble high court by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, who is also son of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal , accusing the government of acting with political vendetta to cancel the land lease, and also taking over the possession of its assets, mainly the cricket stadium without following due course of law. And the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Nov 5 last year restored the possession of Dharamshala international cricket stadium to Anurag Thakur-led Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).
Sharma said ,”We the HPCA doesn’t come under this bill , as we had merged with the Section 25 company by the same name and the society had been dissolved, and therefore not covered under registered societies act 1860.” He said we are raising our voice for benefits of other 41 sports associations of the state who are not able to raise their voice under government’s pressure. HPCA made Anuraag’s younger brother Arun Dhumal a director in the company in 2012, who was a member of the HPCA (the society). While a society is governed by state-specific rules, a state government has little control over a company. Such a move would have helped insulate the HPCA from the vagaries of the hill state’s fluctuating political climate.
Sharma said that we are abiding by the law of country and if law finds us guilty we are ready to hand over all the assets to government. Sanjay said, “We are not afraid by any tactics by the Virbhadra lead government and had fought and won many court battles in past and ready to face any challenges in future too.”
He said that HPCA had brought Himachal on the world map by bringing World cricket to Dharamsala and also patronized other games by appointing 50 coaches( the present government discontinued the scheme), and continue to do so for the betterment of sports in Himachal. He asked Virbhadra to come forward with detailed financial report that how much government funds were flushed in the Rohru cricket, being organized in the name of Singh’s father in a Governments ground, instead asking HPCA, whose accounts are being audited thrice a year by BCCI.
On the other hand Himachal government say that HP Sports (Registration, Recognition and Regulation of Associations) Bill 2015, seeks to bring 42 sports associations, including the HPCA registered under the Societies Act, and provides for compulsory registration of all sports bodies in the state.
The chief minister alleged earlier that land was allotted to the HPCA , a society and not a company ,by the previous government headed by Anurag Thakur’s father Dhumal, the then chief minister. “You have given a huge chunk of land to the HPCA for constructing stadiums not even at throwaway prices but at lease of Re 1 each,” he said.
HPCA’s international stadium in Dharamsala has hosted nine IPL and two international matches. In this IPL season, Dharamsala was not allotted a single match owing to the tussle between the Congress-led state government and the HPCA.