By JAMILA HUSAIN
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, yesterday, following discussions with senior cricketers at Temple Trees, decided to halt construction of a US 40 million dollar Diyagama international cricket stadium in Homagama after objections were raised by senior cricketers.
Players including Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardena, Lasith Malinga and Roshan Mahanama had suggested to the Prime Minister that a new stadium was not the need of the hour and efforts instead must be diverted to develop sports in the country, especially at school level.
The Prime Minister after listening to the concerns raised, instructed the sports minister to formulate a strong development plan to strengthen the sports sector in the country and later informed the cricketers that his initial plan was to construct a sports city in Diyagama which would encourage the youth to practise all forms of sports.
MP Namal Rajapaksa, who attended the meeting told the Daily Mirror that after listening to concerns raised against the construction of a new stadium, the Prime Minister himself reiterated that building an additional international stadium at this moment would not serve a purpose.
“During the meeting, even I raised that infrastructure must go hand in hand with the development plans. The senior cricketers at the meeting said they had formulated a development plan to which the Prime Minister said the government would stick to that and implement it with the cricket board and later will seek the opinion of experts if we require a new stadium. Till then the government will not go ahead,” Namal Rajapaksa said.
Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardena, Lasith Malinga and Roshan Mahanama had suggested to the Prime Minister that a new stadium was not the need of the hour