The plainspeak by Union Minister Shashi Tharoor over the Duleep Trophy fiasco at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium has left the Kerala Cricket Association scrambling to get its accounts right.
While Tharoor demanded an explanation for `8 crore that he said was spent on improving drainage system at the venue, the KCA records show that the association has a bigger task on hand.
Even as the KCA big-wigs maintained that they are in the process of collating the income and expense statement, former KCA secretary N Ajithkumar said the association has received more than `22 crore in each of the past two seasons from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The BCCI grant includes share of media rights and income from the Indian Premier League. “As per the records for the 2012-13 season, the KCA received `10.08 crore as its share of media rights. The share of IPL income was `12.87 crore. Also, the BCCI granted a subsidy of `46.3 lakh. There is an obligation on the part of the KCA to explain how it has spent the money,” Ajithkumar told Express.
For the 2011-12 season, the figures stood at `10.46 crore, `17.16 crore and `58.90 lakh respectively. On the expenditure front, the renovation and maintenance of the Nehru Stadium has entailed a cost of more than `13 crore for the past three years.
“What remains a mystery is that there is no proper demarcation of expenses. In most cases, the asociation has arrived at round figures. Under one head, `6.69 crore has been spent on the Nehru Stadium for one particular year. Another one says `1.06 crore for stadium maintenance. Incredibly, photostat bills have amounted to `30 lakh,” Ajithkumar pointed out. Meanwhile, KCA president T C Mathew brushed aside suggestions of irregularities. He said that the association had the answers for all questions regarding its finance, and that they would come out with specific details in the next few days. “The BCCI has acknowledged the KCA as the best performing cricketing body in the country. Our academy system has been accepted as a model for the entire country. Of all the states, we have spent the most amount of money for cricket. The KCA is a body that maintains proper accounts and conducts audits. Our balance sheets are sent to the BCCI. It is based on our performance that the BCCI allots us funds or matches. We are in the process of collating our accounts and we will soon come out with all the details,” Mathew said.
One thing in favour of the KCA, which even Ajithkumar - among the most vehement critics of the current dispensation - acknowledges, is the drastic improvement in basic cricketing infrastructure over the past six years in the state. And the results are showing with youngsters making a mark at the higher levels.
The KCA’s first fully-owned first-class cricket ground, at Krishnagiri in Wayanad -built at a cost of around `10 crore - is awaiting inauguration.
“Our focus has been to develop cricket at the grass-root level and we are in the process of setting up first-class infrastructure in all 14 districts. The KCA cricket ground in Perinthalmanna was voted the best ground in South India last season. We also have good first-class grounds in Thalassery and Palakkad. As Kerala is a state which gets rain for up to eight months a year, we have set up seven indoor training facilities in the past couple of years.
“The state teams are sent on pre-season exposure tours. Apart from a string of academies, we have started a unique Cricket@School scheme to take cricket to more than 2,000 schools across the state. What more should a sports body do?” said Mathew.
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