KOCHI: A new stand named after former Chief Minister K Karunakaran will be set up at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here.
The late Karunakaran was the mastermind behind the Stadium project. Announcing the decision to build the new stand here on Monday, Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) chairman N Venugopal said the new stand would be built near the football VIP pavilion of the stadium. “Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the new pavilion on ‘Chingam 1’ (the auspicious Malayalam month),” he said.It was during the tenure of Karunakaran, who was fondly called ‘Leader’, that the stadium was constructed. He also pioneered the infrastructure development of the stadium and its premises.
The stadium, which was completed in 1996, is one of the major infrastructure projects in the State that was completed in a time-bound manner.
“The new stand will be designed in such a way that the memories of Leader would remain alive. The Kerala Cricket association, GCDA Administrative Panel and the Kerala Football Association (KFA) have already welcomed the decision,” said Venugopal. The proposed pavilion will feature photographs of Karunakaran, including those depicting his rise as a political leader and announcement of the stadium project. Karunakaran announced the stadium project when the Santhosh Trophy tournament was going on at Maharajah’s College.
The land for the stadium was acquired from the KWA, by giving it alternative land at Maradu. The land was then handed over to GCDA. The stadium was inaugurated by then President of India Sankar Dayal Sarma. As a result of Leader’s efforts, the Nehru Gold Cup Invitation Football Tournament was held in Kochi in 1997.