The renovation and modernisation work at the Wankhede Stadium has run into a legal wrangle, which could make the venue miss the deadline for the 2011 World Cup. The ground is scheduled to host the final of the event, along with two league matches but its south-eastern section of the venue that reportedly violates environmental and safety norms.
A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Mumbai High Court, which comes up for hearing on Thursday, has brought the matter up. "The stadium falls in the Coastal Regulation Zone. There are several areas where permission has not been given, but construction is on and in full swing," YP Singh, counsel of Amit Maru, who has filed the PIL, told the Kolkata-based Telegraph.
Among the many concerns are the lack of access to the fire brigade to all parts of the venue as required under the National Building Code of India, and a green belt around the stadium. Also, the Western Railways had issued a "no work" order as the portion adjoining the east and south stands did not leave the minimum 30-metre vacant space from the rail tracks, Singh said. "The stadium authorities have not taken the necessary no-objection certificate from the Railways. They have taken away the entire exit from the Railways."
Apart from the legal hurdles, the venue was also struggling with the completion of the construction work before the arrival of the south-west monsoon in May-June. The south stand, where work has been suspended pending the court verdict, is likely to miss the deadline.
Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's chief administrative officer and tournament director for the 2011 World Cup, assured the construction work was on schedule and the stadium would be ready in time. "The PIL relates to the 30-metre gap between the stadium and the railway tracks, and it is only (regard to) the east stand. Even there, we are not demolishing it, only strengthening it," Shetty said. "If anyone has talked of any issues with the south stand, I don't know. The rest of the work is on schedule."