The Northern peninsula which was once a battlefield is going to have an international stadium for cricket. The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has initiated a National programme to develop the sport island-wide and has planned to establish an international venue in the peninsula.
President of the SLC, Thilanga Sumathipala along with several other officials visited the peninsula to inspect the sites that were suggested by Northern Province Chief Minister, CV Wigneswaran for the stadium. One of the sites offered by the Chief Minister is in Mandaitheevu while the other is said to be a privately-owned land, situated along the Jaffna-Mannar Road.
Secretary, SLC, Mohan de Silva told the Weekend Nation that the sites would be finalized only after the necessary procedures are carried out. “First we need to check whether there is enough water. Then we also need to get the approval of the local officials. In addition, there are several other processes that need to be done before work on the construction begins,” he said.
Accordingly, the two plots of land for the stadium would be scrutinized by a qualified technical evaluation team to ascertain the quality of the basic requirements such as water, soil, power, environmental impact and road access.
The stadium is to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 100 million. The SLC had earlier said that it was looking at establishing two cricket stadiums in Jaffna and Polonnaruwa at a cost of Rs. 200 million. The development project is expected to be completed by August 2022.
Sources said that while the stadium in Jaffna would host international tournaments, the latter would be used for domestic matches.
Sumathipala stressed the importance of selecting the most suitable and viable location with other important facilities to the players and the public such as easy access to the location, welfare, safety, and other facilities.
A meeting was held on January 14 in Jaffna with the provincial cricket administrators, coaches and support staff along with all the club officials.
Sumathipala also explained the new National Development Plan which includes moves to encourage young talent to join the main stream.