KATHMANDU, Feb 3: Nagdaha of Mulpani, which was taken as a dumping ground of the Kathmandu Valley until a decade ago, is now getting established as a new destination for Nepali cricket.
The Mulpani Cricket Ground is being used as an alternative for the TU Cricket Stadium of Kirtipur after the construction of the Mulpani ground which is now taken as a venue for practice sessions for the national team and also for other tournaments.
Though the construction of the new ground is yet to be completed, Khukuri Challenger T20 Cup is being organized at the new ground for the last two weeks. As some national team players have been playing on the ground, the tournament has helped Mulpani Cricket Ground establish as a new cricket venue.
“This ground has become an important asset connected with the identity of Mulpani. Our identity was negative when this place was used for dumping garbage. Now, this ground has established itself with a new identity for the international cricket,’’ Chairman of Kageshwari Manahara Municipality-6 Prakash Phuyal said adding, “We are very optimistic that this ground will contribute to the economical and social development of this area.’’
Chairman of Khukuri ENT Binaya Bikram Thapa was very delighted to have found Mulpani as the alternative of TU Cricket Ground. He said that the Mulpani Ground has freed them from the compulsion to go to Kirtipur for a national level tournament.
“Even though the wicket here is good, but the ground is still not on par the international standard. We need to do a lot to improve the standard of the ground. The future will be depend on the management of the ground and for what purpose it will be used,’’ Thapa, who has organized the tournament with Sunil Dhamala, Naresh Budayer, Pradeep Airee, Sagar Pun and Kushal Bhurtel among other age group players who took part in the tournament, said, “Mulpani can contribute a lot for the Nepali cricket if we can properly manage the ground.”
Phuyal however expressed his dissatisfaction over the activities of Nepali sports governing bodies.
“We have been totally neglected in the construction and management of this ground. They are carrying out activities on their own. We are elected representatives and we did not provide 400 ropanis land without any conditions. We gave it for a purpose,’’ Phuyal vented ire, “The municipality should have a stake in all the activities carried out here. If the cricket bodies are to conduct activities in such large area of land that we provided, then the Mulpani locals should be the first to get benefit.”
The ground has also helped expand small business activities in the locality. Dolakha’s Bhagwati Thapa has been residing in Mulpani and selling chatpate and panipuri for a long time in the upper part of the ground. Her business has prospered since the Mulpani Ground came into operation. Her stall was the only one in the ground area, but now she has got competition with other merchants.
“Many people come here when there is a match and the business gets an uplift,’’ Thapa, pointing out at the ground where Khukuri Cup is played, said, “In the past, we didn’t see much of a crowd when these kinds of matches were played. But things have changed. The number of businessmen has increased after different organizations started organizing tournaments on the ground, and the competition for getting space around the ground has increased now.’’
Phuyal claimed that it was not only some local businessmen who are earning but also other locals have been benefiting from the activities taking place in and around the Mulpani Ground.
“A community should serve sports as the sports sector serves a community. The people of Mulpani should get the top priority for any opportunity at the ground because they were the ones who provided 400 ropanis of land for the cricket development,’’ Phuyal added.
Phuyal criticized sports authorities for not consulting the local representatives saying, “When they need the land, we have to give them. When they are in dispute, we are called upon, but they neglect other important works and do whatever they want.’’
He also accused the National Sports Council (NSC) of using the ground arbitrarily. According to him, the local representatives tried to contact NSC Member Secretary Keshav Kumar Bista to discuss the matter. “Sadly he did not respond. But, the municipality will not stay quiet.’’