Ambitious BCCI-NCA: Creche, 16,000 sq ft gym, 40 pitches, 243 rooms (IANS Exclusive)

A creche – apparently for cricketers’ children – a 16,000 square feet gymnasium, besides a whopping 40 practice pitches, including 20 having floodlight facility, 243 rooms of varying shapes and sizes, and an open air theatre – will be part of the new and ambitious National Cricket Academy (NCA) coming up in Bengaluru.

According to the NCA blueprint, accessed by IANS, these and many other world class facilities – like indoor training facility comprising futsal, squash, badminton, basketball, tennis, cycling track, temperature-controlled pool — and ancillary provisions such as pharmacy, courier dispatch facility, bank, ATM, salon, tuck shops will come up on a 40 acre land in Devanahalli Taluk, near the Bengaluru international airport.

The BCCI is keen to pursue a holistic approach for developing cricketers at the new NCA campus.

“The BCCI is desirous of setting up a new campus for the NCA to train current and future cricketers in all aspects of the game to enhance their mental and physical development in order to ensure their holistic development as sportspersons. The proposed academy would be constructed over a land of 40 acres leased to the BCCI by the KIADB (Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board). The entire NCA would come up in two phases, namely Phase-I & Phase-II,” says the BCCI in a document detailing the plan, accessed by IANS.

The BCCI has secured the land on a 99-year lease from the KIADB for around Rs 50 crore, after a number of twists and turns – and bad blood – in getting hold of the land. The land issue couldn’t be resolved through successive Karnataka state governments, and was finally registered in the name of the BCCI in 2017.

Since the NCA’s establishment in 2000, it has been running from the premises of the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in the heart of Bengaluru. The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), which owns the stadium, has rented out to the BCCI its Ground B for outdoor practice, besides an indoor practice facility, and separate space for a modern gymnasium.

Niranjan Shah, former NCA chairman and BCCI secretary, is happy that finally the work is about to start on the project.

“The BCCI deserves to have a world-class NCA. When I was chairman, we gave a proposal for building the new NCA campus to fulfil some formalities, but this project is different and bigger,” Shah told IANS.

On Sunday, the BCCI said it is inviting bids for the turnkey design build construction services for the new NCA campus through a tender process.

In the first phase of construction, divided into five zones and the “common facilities” that spill into the second phase, one main ground, including ancillary facilities, administrative and pavilion block, and two practice grounds will be part of Zone-I.

In Zone-II, outdoor training facility, including 40 practice pitches, multipurpose fielding area, swimming pool, and meeting rooms etc. will come up.

A 16,000 square feet gymnasium, one acre outdoor facility, and all-weather indoor pitches will be the highlights of Zone-III.

As part of Zone-IV, a residential block comprising 10 double occupancy rooms, 10 quad sharing dormitories, eight rooms for guests, central kitchen, and banquet facility will be built.

And in Phase-II of the NCA project, a gallery structure to accommodate 7,500 spectators at the main ground, broadcasting and floodlight facilities for all practice grounds and extension of facilities in practice grounds will come up in Zone-I.

Floodlights for 20 practice pitches and two tennis courts will be constructed as part of Zone-II.

A small temperature-controlled indoor pool will be constructed under Zone-III.

Zone-IV will see extension of the residential block, comprising 70 single occupancy rooms, 120 double occupancy rooms, 25 quad sharing dormitories, and recreational facilities.

Indoor training facility, consisting of futsal, squash, badminton, basketball courts, and office spaces will be part of Zone-V of the ambitious project.

And in the final phase of the project, a creche, open air theatre, pharmacy, salon, cycling track, ice cream and juice parlours, bank, tucks shops etc. will be built.

The BCCI seeks a ‘design build contractor’ who has the required experience of building “elite sporting facility/academy” to build the NCA in two phases.

From the date of issue of Letter of Award, the BCCI will give an “approximate” 18-month period to the company that wins the contract. “Timelines for approval of concept, designs, detailed designs, and construction has been included in the project duration,” says the NCA document.

The BCCI has outlined the requirements in its request for proposal and services agreement as well as the checks and balances.

“The bid ceiling price has been kept as Rs 150 crore (excluding GST and cost of supply and installation of equipment by nominated sub-contractors like gym equipment supplier, physiotherapy equipment supplier and ground equipment supplier),” says the NCA blueprint.

“For design build contractor finalisation, 70 per cent scores are allocated to technical aspects and 30 per cent to financial aspects, so that the lowest financial bidder doesn’t win the contract hands down without having relevant experience or capability of undertaking similar project,” it says.

Running and maintaining the NCA is an expensive proposition. Even maintaining it from the rented space at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium is expensive — and the cost is growing every year.

In 2007-08, the total expenditure on the NCA was Rs 6.59 crore, and five years later it more than doubled to Rs 15.42 crore in 2011-12. The expenses again doubled in 2017-18, when the BCCI spent Rs 31.27 crore on the academy. And the expenses further went up to Rs 42.76 crore in 2018-19. Since the BCCI balance sheet for 2019-20 is not available, the latest expenses are not known.

A few years ago, there was talk that when the new NCA comes up, the BCCI headquarters would be shifted there from its present location at the Mumbai Cricket Association building inside Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. BCCI has taken the space on a lease-rent basis.

Shah, however, laughed off the suggestion to relocate the BCCI headquarters. “Every five years or so such news appears in the media,” he quipped.