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Old April 26th, 2006, 05:09 PM   #25
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Perhaps this series can resurrect this thread.

The Times of India is starting a series of articles in which they rate the various sports stadiums in the country, and they have started with the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

This is from the ePaper section.


In the first part of a series,TOI visits the countryís pride among stadiums,The Eden Gardens in Kolkata, and returns unhappy

By Dwaipayan Datta/TNN

It rates among the best in the world. The imposing amphitheatre of steel and concrete encasing Eden Gardensí lush green outfield still inspires awe among cricketers and fans.

But years of neglect by powerdrunk officials has ensured that watching cricket at this illustrious ground isnít quite as enjoyable as it used to be.
Myopic administrators, with an eye on the big bucks, have been quick off the blocks to install floodlights and other gizmos like an electronic scoreboard and a giant video screen, but they have not spared a thought for the 90,000-odd spectators who pack the stands.

The biggest letdown for a fan at the Eden is the sitting arrangement. The rows of concrete seats in most galleries are far from comfortable, with hardly any legspace. Getting in and out can be a nightmare, especially if you have a seat in the middle of a row. Torn trousers and scraped knees are commonplace.

CAB authorities, who have built a swanky Club House, a hanging media box and air-conditioned boxes, have never bothered about spectator comfort. Obviously, attendances have dwindled.

Officials seem to have finally woken up to the reality. A couple of blocks have been revamped and fibre-glass seats have been installed. If the authorities are to be believed, all blocks will have fibre-glass seats by the 2011 World Cup, if the joint bid by Asia is successful. Bucket seats require more space, so Eden will lose about 10,000 seats, but what good is additional capacity if it remains unutilised?

The resultant loss of revenue is sure to be made up by hiking ticket prices. More expensive tickets, though, wonít ensure extra comfort, especially for over 50 per cent of spectators who have to sit in the open sun.

What makes life more difficult for the fans who brave the heat to come to the ground is that they are not allowed to carry waterbottles into the stadium. Waterpouches arenít easily available and there are long queues at the drinking water outlets.

However, when it comes to ground and dressing room facilities, Eden Gardens still remains one of the best. In fact, it can easily be said that Eden Gardens is more player-friendly than spectator-friendly.
Access to ground
Located in the heart of the city, the stadium is well-connected by road, rail and water transport. Metro Railway is just 500 metres away. Not a modern stadium with ramps for easy crowd dispersal, but with 21 entry points, getting in and out is not a problem.
TOI Rating 8/10

Water & food
Water bottles are not allowed inside the stadium and usually there are long queues in front of the water pouch counters and drinking water taps. The quality of food available in the stadium is poor and the few stalls selling mostly stale stuff are inadequate.
TOI Rating 4/10

Seating comfort
The rows of narrow concrete benches with hardly any leg-space are extremely uncomfortable. You are liable to scrape your knees while getting in or out of the row. The price of tickets in blocks with bucket seats is high, making it unaffordable for the masses.
TOI Rating 2/10

Grossly inadequate toilet facilities in all blocks, including the Club House. For a stadium this big, there are very few of them. Moreover, the existing toilets are not clean and often run out of water midway into the game. As a result, they are extremely dirty and unhygienic.
TOI Rating 3/10

Roof overhead
Fifty per cent of the stands enjoy overhead covering by fibre-glass sheets. The worst sufferers are the spectators in D and J blocks, who have no shade. The chances of building shades in these two stands are slim due to technical reasons.
TOI Rating 5/10

Outfield and pitch
Lush green outfield resembles a green carpet. Traditionally, the Eden pitch has been a sporting one, aiding swing bowlers early in the game, and subsequently breaking up to help spinners. More often than not, Test matches here have produced results.
TOI Rating 9/10

Player facilities
Big and comfortable dressing rooms where the players can put their feet up and relax. Single entry point helps in enforcing stricter security. No unwanted elements can go near the dressing rooms. The CAB medical unit is well-equipped and manned by doctors.
TOI Rating 7/10

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