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Monday 27 January 2020

Eden Gardens-like stadium to come up in Howrah

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly liked the plot in Padmapukur, Howrah, where an Eden Gardens-like international cricket stadium will come up

Eden Gardens means fantasy. Eden means nostalgia. Eden means a celebration of cricket by millions of viewers. Any cricketer in the world dreams of one chance to play in and around those 22 yards. The green carpet in Kolkata is also a landmark for the State, which is going to get another stadium of the type, thanks to Sourav Ganguly who will play an additional role of a consultant in building the stadium to be built by the State government.

According to sources, the cricket stadium will be set up at Padmapukur in Howrah. Already, 50 acre of land has been identified for the construction of the stadium. The land is now under the Urban Development Office.

Ganguly had convened a preliminary meeting with West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim on what the stadium could look like. The former Team India captain said he liked the land.

Although there are several football stadiums in the state, Eden Gardens is the only international standard cricket stadium. When a new stadium is built, not only will it increase the options for cricket lovers in the State and beyond; it will also inspire an economic ecosystem around the otherwise little-known spot in Howrah.

With this stadium in the future, West Bengal will get another venue of international cricket as does Maharashtra, which leads the country in the number of venues for matches between teams of different countries.

Eden Gardens not built by any govt of independent India

Shockingly, even Eden Gardens was not given to West Bengal by any government of independent India. The stadium was established in 1864 during the British Raj. The Brits transformed what was one of the oldest parks in Calcutta (now Kolkata), adjacent to the stadium. The authorities under East India Company made the design in 1841 and named the would-be playground after the Eden sisters of Lord Auckland, the then Governor-General of India.

Initially, what is now Eden Gardens was named Auckland Circus Gardens but then christened after the Garden of Eden in the Bible.

As for the local contribution, Babu Rajchandra Das, the then zamindar (landlord) of Calcutta, had gifted one of his biggest gardens near River Hooghly to Viceroy Lord Auckland Eden and his sister Emily Eden after they helped him save his third daughter from a fatal disease.

The garden’s name was changed first to Mar Bagan and then to Eden Gardens. The cricket grounds were built between Babughat and Fort William. The stadium is in the BBD Bagh area of the city, near the State Secretariat and opposite to the Calcutta High Court.

With inputs from ESPN Cricinfo, Kolkata City Tours, CAB archives

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