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PCB, local govt at loggerheads

September 15, 2013

RAWALPINDI, Sept 14: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) are at loggerheads over the issue of Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium’s rent which the PCB has failed to deposit for the past six years.

According to the CDGR, the cricket board got possession of the stadium at Shamsabad in 2007 and had to pay Rs400,000 per month as rent to the local government.

However, it had failed to deposit the said amount.In 2012, the issue was taken up at the higher level and it was decided that the district rent assessment committee, led by Additional District Collector Revenue Talat Mehmood Gondal, would make assessment of the area and fix the rent.

After the meeting, the committee suggested that because the stadium is located in an ideal location, its rent should be increased according to the market value.

However, the PCB refused to do so and said it was not possible for the board to pay the hefty amount.

It maintained that it was paying less to the local governments in Multan and Faisalabad (Rs80,000 per year) for the cricket stadiums.

The issue resurfaced last week when the District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajid Zafar warned the PCB to submit all outstanding dues.

Otherwise, he said notices would be issued to the organisation and the agreement would be cancelled.

Resultantly, PCB officials contacted the DCO for negotiations over the issue. On Friday night, DCO Zafar and PCB Manager Estate Rafique Bhatti held a meeting but without any success as both stuck to their claim.

When contacted, DCO Sajid Zafar said the CDGR had clearly informed the board to pay its outstanding rent immediately.

“The PCB failed to submit the Rs25 million per year as per the 2007 agreement. If the rent is increased, it would have to pay Rs35 million per year,” he said.

The DCO said he had tried to convince the PCB officials to pay the rent, but to no avail. “I have decided to send a summary to the Punjab chief minister for action over the issue. The rent in the province should be rationalised so that the PCB pays according to the value of property,” he said.

He added that the cricket stadium was the property of the CDGR and it could generate more revenue if private parties were allowed to play in the stadium.

“If the PCB fails to pay the rent according to the value of property, we will have no option but to cancel the agreement,” he said.

“The PCB officials maintained they were paying Rs80,000 annual rent for the Multan Cricket Stadium and the Faisalabad Cricket Stadium. Therefore, they were not willing to pay more to the CDGR,” said DCO Sajid Zafar.

When contacted, PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar said he would provide the board’s official stance on Monday.