Dubai: Eden Gardens, the iconic cricket stadium of Kolkata, is set to figure among the latest sporting venues across the world which has pitched in to fight the raging coronavirus pandemic across the world.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the state association which is in charge of the venue, agreed to a request from the city’s police forces on Friday to make use of the space under the galleries of five blocks of the Eden Gardens for makeshift quarantine facility for police personnel who are on duty as Covid-19 warriors.
The eastern India metropolis has enforced a seven-day lockdown again from July 9 in view of the surging cases in the state soon after the easing of the restrictions last month across India. The total number of cases so far in West Bengal have exceeded 25,000 as the state occupies eighth spot in the countrywide breakdown of cases till date.
A meeting at Kolkata Police Headquarters, Lal Bazaar, took place in the presence of Special Commissioner Jawed Shamim, following which a joint inspection of the venue was carried out to earmark the blocks below which temporary structures will be built on war footing. CAB president Avishek Dalmiya and Honorary Secretary Snehasish Ganguly were present during the visit.
“It is our duty to help and support the administration in this hour of crisis. The quarantine facility would be used for police personnel who are COVID-19 warriors. The under galleries which would be used at E, F, G, H and J blocks would be properly segregated and secured from the balance areas. The arrangement agreed between Kolkata Police and CAB would ensure that areas used for cricket and administrative Activities remain unaffected,” Dalmiya said in a statement.
The groundsmen and other staffs would be shifted to the dormitories and other safer spaces in B, C, K and L blocks inside the stadium.
Sourav Ganguly, the president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Dalmiya’s predecessor as the CAB president, had offered the services of the venue in late March when the cases just begun creeping up in India. If government asks us, we will certainly hand over the facility. Anything that is need of the hour, we will do it. There is absolutely no problem,” Ganguly was quoted as saying.
Incidentally, a number of sporting venues in India - which has now climbed up to third position globally with over 800,000 overall cases - have been roped in to make use of the spaces for quarantine facilities for patients. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in India’s capital New Delhi, a 60,000-plus multi-purpose stadium, has been handed over to the Delhi Government to be used as a quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients.