Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun
BCCI acting president CK Khanna's proposal to shift the board's headquarters from Mumbai to a new facility in Bengaluru has met with a mixed response from different state associations. While the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) staunchly opposed the suggestion, the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) welcomed the proposal and called for the creation of zonal headquarters. It is understood the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association haven't firmed up their positions on the matter yet.
Meanwhile, even as the Cricket Association of Bengal stated it did not wish to divulge its stance, the association's joint-secretary Avishek Dalmiya said Kolkata wasn't a "bad location" either for the BCCI's headquarters to be moved to. "Whatever views we have we will disclose it whenever the issue is deliberated by the BCCI at its general body meeting," Dalmiya told ESPNcricinfo. "In fact, even Kolkata does not prima facie seem to be a bad option because it will be logistically easier for a lot of units from the north-east as well as the east."
Khanna had sent two letters dated February 6 and 7 to state associations seeking their views on shifting the BCCI's base. He stated that the 40 acres of land in the vicinity of the Bengaluru airport - originally acquired for the relocation of the National Cricket Academy from its current premises - could be used "optimally" as a multipurpose facility. "This whole land can be used optimally if along with NCA, BCCI also uses a part of this land to build a new state-of-art headquarters as its exclusive administrative office along with provision of allied and ancillary services infrastructure," Khanna wrote.
He also pointed out that the present headquarters, situated inside the premises of the Wankhede Stadium, was a rented facility, and urged that the BCCI shift to its own property. Outlining the other ways in which the proposed new headquarters could be used, Khanna wrote: "In these premises of BCCI, auditorium, conference rooms and meeting rooms for meetings with all the facilities could also be made," he wrote. "An exquisite club house for visiting guests, cricketers with all dining facilities for their convenience, space for recreational facilities, indoor games, a cricket library, swimming pool and a cricket museum. It should also have adequate storage facility for BCCI documents for future reference and consultation."
Khanna, however, referred to clause 2 of the rules and regulations of the Lodha Committee report that warrants that the board's headquarters remain in Mumbai. "In light of this fact, it is requested that the proposal of the members be kindly considered by the Hon'ble Committee of Administrators keeping in view the above said clause as enshrined in the rules & regulations," he wrote in his second letter on February 7. "In case the Hon'ble Committee of Administrators deem it necessary, the proposal may be brought to the kind attention of the Hon'ble Supreme Court they may guide the way forward. It is reiterated herein that the proposal to shift the BCCI Headquarters to Bengaluru is based on the intention to develop a state-of-the-art headquaters for the board to enable it to cater to the growing organisational needs."
The MCA decided to inform the BCCI about the opinion of its managing committee that the board's headquarters should stay at Wankhede Stadium. "The managing committee met a few days ago and is of the opinion that the BCCI office should remain on our premises," MCA joint-secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar said. "Since the time of its inception, the BCCI's office has been located on the premises of the MCA and the managing committee feels it should continue."
The SCA, in its reply to the BCCI, noted that the idea of moving the headquarters out of Mumbai had been floated many times in the past. However, the Cricket Centre at the Wankhede Stadium was found to be most "suitable and appropriate."
"We understand that [the] lease agreement between Mumbai Cricket Association and Government of Maharashtra is coming to an end by February 2018 and our agreement with MCA will also end," SCA joint-secretary Madhukar Worah wrote in a letter, which is in the possession of ESPNcricinfo. "We understand [the] MCA has already applied for extension of the lease agreement. We are confident that MCA will have same terms and conditions as per earlier lease agreement, which have [has] been very suitable to BCCI. Only if MCA comes up with unreasonable demands for renewal of agreement, we should think of shifting BCCI headquarters."
HCA secretary T Shesh Narayan, though, felt there was nothing wrong in moving the headquarters out of Mumbai. "As you know, Mumbai is a congested place and it has been there [as the headquarters] for 70-80 years," he told ESPNcricinfo. "Everybody should be given a chance. My proposal would be that each zone should have a zonal office and, by rotation, the board should function from that zone. Suppose, if the president is from south zone, then the south zone office shall become the headquarters. This is decentralisation that the Lodha [Committee] has talked about. But one logistical problem which will arise is it will be difficult for the staff to move. Since the funds are available in abundance, we can afford to have five offices. Decentralisation is there."