Karnataka,India's hockey stadium gets new turf, new name

21 April 2017

The Karnataka State Hockey Association stadium will now be known as the Field Marshal KM Cariappa stadium. It was renamed on Thursday during the inauguration of the newly-laid blue hockey turf by the Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports (DYES).

The grand ceremony, however, was marred by controversy after Hockey Bengaluru (formerly KSHA) - which holds the rights over the stadium land after having signed a 99-year lease with BBMP decades ago - slammed the DYES for ignoring them and not following due procedure.

"It is wrong on the part of the DYES to change the name of the ground without taking us into confidence. We are not objecting to the developments but they could have consulted us as the BBMP has leased the land to us. It's a clear violation of the agreement," fumed Hockey Bengaluru secretary K Krishnamurthy.

Krishnamurthy explained that the stadium cannot be renamed without a resolution passed by BBMP. "We are not aware whether DYES sought an approval from BBMP," he said.

"The agreement signed in 1977 is in the name of KSHA. Although KSHA has been renamed Hockey Bengaluru, KSHA still exists as a trade name with an aim to promote hockey," he said. "DYES came to an understanding with us during the 1997 National Games to develop the infrastructure and share the facility. The department has no rights over the land."

Revealing that Hockey Bengaluru was invited only an hour before the inaugural ceremony, Krishnamurthy said: "Field Marshal Cariappa is a hero for all of us. They have put his name on a flex board instead casting it in stone. This is not the way to honour a national hero. We were not even informed about their plans to change the name."

Blaming the DYES, he said: "Ever since the new director has taken charge we have been given raw deal. We were not informed when DYES called for tenders to upgrade the stadium."

Krishnamurthy said they will take up the matter with the sports minister after consulting MLA NA Haris, the patron of the club.

Meanwhile, the DYES director Anupam Agrawal countered Krishnamurthy's allegations saying they have followed the protocol. "We have an approval from the state sports minister to change the name of the stadium. We have not consulted KSHA because legally they don't exist," he said. "We wanted to rename the ground to Field Marshal Cariappa ground to honour his contributions," he said.

DYES director Anupam Agrawal said his department will upgrade the Field Marshal KM Cariappa stadium gallery and refurbish the hostel which is home to Sports Authority of India trainees. "We have sought an additional Rs 1.5 crore to upgrade the gallery and the hostel. We will also upgrade the toilets and dressing rooms according to FIH standards. We are in the process of installing a hockey turf at Somwarpet and upgrading the existing facility at Ponnampet as Kodagu district is the cradle of hockey," he added.