The hockey stadium coming up at Rourkela in the Sundergarh district of Odisha will be named the ‘Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium‘. The relation of the sport with the Munda tribe can best be explained by the fact that Jaipal Singh Munda captained India at the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928, which marked the beginning of India’s run of eight gold medals at the Games.
Sundergarh needs little introduction when the context is hockey. Considered one of the nurseries of the sport in the country, an international-standard stadium will give the district a boost to produce more stalwarts like former India captain Dilip Tirkey.
Along with Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium, Rourkela will be the second venue for the 2023 edition of the Men’s Hockey World Cup.
The Odisha government, which is also the official sponsor of the Indian teams, has promised the stadium to be gold standard. The foundation stone has been laid by the state’s Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik; and his government has started putting things together to deliver the finished product by June 2022.
Hon’ble Chief Minister Sri @Naveen_Odisha laid the foundation stone of India’s largest Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.… https://t.co/buLB03QAaC
— Odisha Sports (@sports_odisha) 1613464957000
A MULTI-CRORE STADIUM
Over the years, Odisha has provided a thrust that sports in India never witnessed before from a state government. The chief beneficiary of that has been hockey, which is why the state will host a men’s World Cup for the second edition in a row. In all, it will be the fourth World Cup hosted by India –1982, 2010 and 2018 — and the costliest one.
Two host cities means requirement of two stadiums of International Hockey Federation [FIH] standard; and to build the second one at Rourkela, the state government has marked a budget of Rs 120 crore.
“Come June 2022, it [Rourkela] will be ready to proudly showcase the Birsa Munda International Stadium to the world,” said Vishal K Dev, principal secretary, sports & youth services department, Odisha, while talking to Timesofindia.com.
Take a stroll through the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium, Rourkela – one of the host cities of the FIH Od… https://t.co/yNbxWk76GE
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) 1613480631000
“Spread over 15 acres of land, this stadium will be a sporting colosseum in its uniqueness in design and grandeur.”
The responsibility to accomplish that objective has been given to the Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation [IDCO]. The public sector undertaking will supervise building the stadium and employ contractual builders for the process.
“The Government of Odisha has assigned us to construct a world class stadium for the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 within the given timeline of 12 months,” Sanjay Kumar Singh, IDCO’s chairman cum managing director, told Timesofindia.com.
HOW WILL THE STADIUM BE UNIQUE?
The promise is that the stadium will be the first of its kind in the world for hockey. Graphical representation of that with photographs and a video have already been released by the state government.
“The Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium is a fresh development. It is designed with an ultra-modern facility offering one of the finest experiences to the spectators,” said Sanjay Kumar Singh.
MULTI-CRORE FACELIFT FOR ROURKELA
For the 2018 World Cup, the city of Bhubaneswar received a facelift to the tune of over Rs 100 crore. This amount is going to swell to more than four times to Rs 470 crore for Rourkela.
“To transform Rourkela into a smart city, CM of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, laid foundations for [projects worth] Rs 470 crore,” the office of Odisha Sports Department told Timesofindia.com.
However, the major work required will be in terms of bringing up quality hotels in the area and making the airport fully functional again.
“Quick check – only seven hotels in the city, most smallish and only a couple meeting FIH specifications. Are these going to be built? Could be a good boon for the local building industry,” a foreign journalist asked and opined.
The state’s principal sports secretary, Dev, hinted that a part of the Rs 105 crore marked for ‘tourism and amusement’ will be spent on bringing up some new hotels as well.
“Years of working relationships with government agencies and district administrations and long associations with Hockey India will go a long way in fulfilling our collective dream,” Dev said.
Another crucial factor that needs to be looked into is the Rourkela airport.
Hon’ble CM Shri @Naveen_Odisha laid the foundation stone for India’s biggest Hockey stadium in Rourkela. #IDCO has… https://t.co/L13lavJxjA
— IDCO Odisha (@idco_odisha) 1613463473000
The distance between Bhubaneswar and Rourkela is over 325 km and requires around eight hours of travelling by road, which is logistically illogical for an international tournament.
The Rourkela airport currently has a licence that allows flight operations for 19-seater aircraft under the Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagarik (UDAN) scheme. That capacity, however, needs to be ramped up keeping an eye on the hockey World Cup in 2023.
Reportedly, an inspection to scale up flight operations to 72-seater aircraft was carried out in November last year. The next step is to make the airport ready for it, which will require an upgraded licence. The work to improve infrastructure for that is in progress.