The Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium in Raipur, India, was plunged into darkness on Friday due to an unpaid electricity bill worth ₹3.16 crore (approximately $400,000). The power outage occurred just hours before the scheduled fourth T20 International cricket match between India and Australia.
A Long-Standing Dispute
The electricity connection to the stadium was reportedly cut off five years ago due to the non-payment of the bill. The Chhattisgarh State Cricket Association (CSCSA), the body responsible for managing the stadium, has been engaged in a long-standing dispute with the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board (CSEB) over the payment of the bill.
Temporary Measures Fall Short
In an attempt to avoid disruption to the upcoming cricket match, the CSCSA arranged for a temporary electricity connection to be installed at the stadium. However, this connection only covered the spectators’ gallery and boxes, leaving the rest of the stadium in darkness.
A Threat to the Match
The power outage posed a significant threat to the conduct of the cricket match. Essential lighting, scoreboards, and other critical equipment were rendered inoperable. The CSEB had reportedly warned the CSCSA that the temporary connection would be disconnected if the outstanding bill remained unpaid.
A Scramble to Restore Power
As the scheduled start time for the match approached, frantic efforts were underway to restore power to the stadium. CSCSA officials were engaged in negotiations with the CSEB, while engineers worked to reroute power from alternative sources.
A Respite for the Match
At the eleventh hour, a temporary solution was reached, and power was restored to the stadium just minutes before the match was due to begin. However, the incident highlighted the precarious state of infrastructure and the challenges of managing large-scale events in India.
A Call for Accountability
The incident has raised concerns about the management of the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium and the CSCSA’s financial practices. It has also underscored the importance of timely and responsible payment of bills to ensure the smooth operation of critical infrastructure.