I posted earlier my concerns about the growing ties between the IPL and the government (and cricket in general in India). I don’t want to harp on the subject — partially because it makes me sound like some conspiratorial wingnut (and because most people don’t read this blog for the bureaucratese) — but I thought this story about an illegal five-star collection of luxury huts in Himachal Pradesh too good to pass on:
It pays to have a chief minister father, which is why Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president Anurag Thakur has managed to get away with an illegal construction meant to house Indian Premier League (IPL) players here next week, alleges the state’s opposition.
Anurag Thakur, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Hamirpur, is the son of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. Both are under fire for giving clearances to land for the Rs.35 crore (Rs.350 million) project called The Pavilion.
The government allotted land to the HPCA for a minimally priced lease, that too within a few days of the request by the HPCA.
‘In fact, we are asking the government why it has allocated Rs.3 crore for developing Dharamsala town before the IPL matches,’ state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur told IANS.
As Michael Kinsley used to say, the scandal isn’t what’s illegal, it’s what’s legal. Even if the government in question did nothing wrong, it seems somehow strange to me that they decided to build this thing just to house IPL players (because there were no other five-star hotels near the stadium up there). So what happens to these huts once the IPL shuts down until next year? Surely — surely — the HPCA can spend its money on cricket some other way, no?