Poor planning and lack of maintenance has left Fatullah’s Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in dire straits with its main ground remaining submerged in water during the rainy season and chemical infused water from nearby factories flooding it’s outer ground throughout the year.
In the last five years, contaminated water from four dyeing factories and 20 odd garments factories close to the venue has been entering both the outer and main grounds of the stadium.
Due to this water logging, the outer field was in no condition to hold any sort of sporting activity and the main venue was also not in a shape to host international cricket, which got highlighted when Australia opted out of their two-day practice match at the venue in 2017 terming its outfield underprepared.
Last year, Bangladesh Cricket Board assigned an eight-member designing team from Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology to come up with a plan to fix the problem.
Leader of that team and a professor from BUET’s civil engineering department ABM Badruzzaman said that water from factories built on higher ground and the limited capacity of the stadium’s drainage system were the root causes of the waterlog.
‘Water from surrounding upper-land industrial areas come inside the venue and only four dyeing factories infuse enough water to overflow the current sewerage system,’ Badruzzaman told New Age on Thursday.
The designated National Sports Council administrator for the Fatullah venue Ruhul Amin said that the ground level of the venue became comparatively lower after many roads, housings and industries were constructed around it which caused the flooding.
Ruhul, however, was reluctant to take any of the blame for the grounds poor condition, stating it was the BCB’s job to maintain it.
‘We just look after that whether BCB is doing the work as per NSC’s condition and inform NSC about BCB’s requirements. BCB looks after the venue maintenance. We were not given the right to interfere on BCB’s maintenance work,’ he said.
On Thursday, upon inspection all entranceways of the venue were seen to be waterlogged except the media gate on the north side.
The east end of the outer stadium was submerged, filthy water was flowing on the walkways in front of the pavilion gate and most of the venue’s outfield drains were also waterlogged.
BCB’s venue coordinator Babul Mia informed that the existing drainage system didn’t work anymore.
BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury said that the BUET team was still in the planning stage and the board was bearing the expense of it, not the NSC.
‘We gave the responsibility to the BUET team in 2019. They completed survey and soil test and now working on details, drawing and designing,’ said Nizam.
‘Because of being the main users [of the venue], we are subsidising it. We are doing it as the NSC asked us to bear the cost of designing part and they will bear the cost of the implementation part,’ he added.
NSC development and planning department assistant director Sukumar Saha said that they were yet to receive any report regarding the repair work of the venue from neither the BCB nor the BUET team.
Professor Badruzzaman said that his team had made good progress before the COVID-19 outbreak forced them to stop.
He hoped to finish the design work by mid-2021 if the COVID-19 situation becomes normal in the next couple of months.
‘I can’t say with certainty when the renovation work would begin or be completed…We were given the job by Bangladesh Cricket Board in early 2019. It will take a long time as we still had some work to do before starting the design phase,’ he said.
After getting the venue project approval on July 1, 1994, the construction of the venue began in 1997, after NSC acquired 25 acres of land for the entire complex consisting the main stadium, the outer stadium, a two-story building for BCB staff, a four-story building and 35 tin-shed houses for NSC staff.
The construction of the venue was completed on June 30, 2000 and the entire project cost Tk 24,85,87,000.
Further developments were made in 2005-2006 fiscal year by NSC, which cost over Tk five crores.
It was twice renovated, once before the 2011 Cricket World Cup and ahead of the 2014 Twenty20 World Cup, which cost a total of Tk 68,79,78,000.
The last time Fatullah hosted an international match was in 2016 and that was an Asia Cup qualifying match between Hong Kong and UAE .
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