Bogura Shaheed Chandu Stadium is having to spend a huge amount in electricity bills every month although no international match took place there in more than a decade while its floodlights have long remained turned off.
According to sources, at least Tk3 crore has been paid in electricity bills in the last 15 years by the stadium authorities to the National Sports Council. In some months, the authorities even had to pay around Tk4 lakh in bills, including fines.
The stadium has its electricity connection from Northern Electricity Supply Company. Authorities say that they have to pay a minimum bill of around Tk60,000 per month as it is a special connection.
In the last several years, the average electricity bill has been around Tk1.20 lakh per month, they said. However, the average bill in 13 months between 2020 and 2021 amounted to Tk1.69 lakh.
Bogura Shaheed Chandu Stadium was upgraded to an international venue with floodlights at a cost of Tk21 crore in FY 2003-04. On 30 January 2006, the International Cricket Council (ICC) declared the stadium as an international cricket venue. It was recognised as an international test venue in the same year.
However, sports-loving people of Bogura have not been able to enjoy any international matches since 2006. They have only enjoyed the National League, the local Premier Division, the First Division Cricket League and the Corporate League. All these matches are held during the daytime without floodlights.
People concerned have said there is no need to turn on the floodlights of the stadium during the day matches. The stadium has 400 floodlights, 100 in each of the four towers. The floodlights can provide 6 lakh watts of light.
The floodlights were turned on for the last time in February 2007.
According to sources, there are 32 air conditioners (AC) in the buildings of the stadium, including the administration office. However, only two of them are now being used. There are no residential officials or employees in the stadium.
Besides, the government is spending around Tk2.5 lakh per month on salaries of officials and maintenance costs.
Jamilur Rahman, venue manager of the stadium, told The Business Standard, "The amount of the electricity bill is so high because of the floodlight connection. We have discussed the matter with the power division. They have suggested setting up indoor boxes."
"The BCB is also discussing the matter with the power department. We hope the extra bill issue will be stopped soon," he added.
Meanwhile, people concerned have urged the government to undertake necessary renovation works to make the stadium ready for international matches again.
They say that despite having very good quality pitches, the stadium remains deprived of international and national level matches. Reputed cricketers like Wasim Akram and Mahela Jayawardene have praised the pitches here at different times.
Besides, world class cricketers like Mushfiqur Rahim, who was born in Bogura, have had tremendous contributions in the rise of Bangladesh's cricket. Many youngsters are also emerging in the district and readying themselves to play at the international level, they added.
Shahidul Islam, former general secretary of the District Sports Council, said, "Shaheed Chandu Stadium is a beautiful international venue. Many famous players of the world have played here. There are many more stadiums now. But there is no alternative to this stadium."
"If international matches are arranged here again, spectators from all the northern districts will come here. This will contribute to the economy of the area," he added.
Ziaul Haque, president of the District Sports Association and deputy commissioner of Bogura, said, "We have sent many letters to the authorities concerned to bring back international matches to this stadium. We have also asked them for stadium renovations. However, there has been no visible progress in this regard."
"The stadium pays a large amount of electricity bills per month. We have also discussed the issue. We hope to find a solution soon," he added