The Rs. 4.2 billion international cricket stadium built in a god-forsaken land in Sooriyawewa is being hired out for wedding receptions, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera revealed in Parliament yesterday.
The revelation comes just days after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the sports facility last weekend and had discussions with relevant authorities on how to maximise the utilisation of the stadium in the future.
Responding to an oral question raised by MP Hesha Vithanage, the Minister said the stadium is being hired out at a fee of rupees ten thousand. “ There are issues with the stadium that needs to be resolved, “ the Minister said.
The venue built to host some of the World Cup matches in 2011 has so far played host to 11 one day internationals and nine T20 matches since its inception in 2011.
The construction of the stadium in Hambantota was part of former regime’s ambitious plan to make city of Hambantota an international sporting hub, but abandoned plans when the city lost the bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Had Sri Lanka won the bid, the cricket stadium was to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the games.
Minister Jayasekara said the stadium should be made use of as a huge amount of funds had been spent for its construction.
“We cannot allow the stadium to go waste as a huge amount of funds have been spent for it,” he added.
However’ he said lack of hotels in the close proximity of the stadium had contributed to its low usage.“ The players have to travel a long way since there are no hotels close by,” he added.
He said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had suggested that the stadium should be used for training purposes and this would be considered in the future. (Yohan Perera)