Pune, Oct 21 (UNI) The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sharad Pawar today announced a grant of Rs 25 crore to the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) for its international cricket stadium to come up at Gahunje, about 19 kilometres from the city.
After performing the ''Bhoomi Pujan'' of the grandiose Rs 150 crore project here this morning, the Union Agriculture Minister speaking at the august gathering of politicians, former and present cricketers and villagers announced that the Board will extend financial assistance to the affiliated districts of MCA, which have undertaken development of grounds and other related facilities for the promotion and proliferation of the game in rural areas.
The Board President laid emphasis on taping talent from rural and far flung areas, who he felt if given proper training, diet and coaching will be at par with their urban counterparts.
The Board will provide all kinds of aid and monetary help to the districts, Mr Pawar pointed out.
The MCA headed by Mr Ajay Shirke, who came to the helm of affairs three years back, has made the long standing dream of the Association, to have a ground of its own, a reality.
The upcoming ground, on 35 acres of land, will house an ultra modern stadium with the capacity to accommodate 60,000 people as well as an additional ground for the practice and conduct of Ranji trophy and corporate tournaments. Both the grounds will have the floodlight facility.
Mr Pawar praised Mr Shirke for his acumen and sagacity in taking the districts into confidence and giving them their due, stating that he had done the MCA proud.
Having come into being 70 years back, the MCA had lagged behind other states despite being an active affiliate of the BCCI, Mr Pawar pointed out.
Mr Pawar also recalled that it was the MCA which gave a jolt to the Mumbai Cricket Association by lifting the under 19 Cooch Behar Trophy.
Mumbai which was once known as the Mecca of cricket, having dominated the Ranji trophy and other national tournaments in the past, has now been facing challenges from various quarters.
With the new facilities coming up, players from Maharashtra will certainly be able to derive the benefits and will be able to figure in the national team in the near future, Mr Pawar added.