The Khan Saheb Osmani Stadium in Fatullah, which had become one of the most important venues for cricket in the country since gaining ICC recognition in 2006, is today on the verge of destruction due to persistent waterlogging.
Witnesses said piles of waste peer out of the entrance to the link road of the stadium where the canal for water drainage between the link road and the stadium has turned into a garbage dump.
The glass exteriors of the commentary box and hospitality suites have numerous cracks on them, while the roof installed over the gallery seats to protect spectators from rain or sunshine has already collapsed.
Instead of the carnival atmosphere it witnessed while hosting a number of international fixtures for Bangladesh from 2006-2015, today it resembles an abandoned ghost town, or something out of Armageddon.
Seasonal rainwater plus water trapped in the area for years from the Dhaka-Narayanganj-Demra canal system mixed in with factory chemicals has turned the entire venue, including the practise area, into a giant cesspool.
The road along the three-minute walk leading to the stadium is inundated by contaminated water trapped there for years with awful odors. The stagnant water has become a breeding ground for insects and mosquitoes.
The stadium with a capacity of 25,000 spectators started its journey as an international venue on March 23, 2006 with an ODI between Bangladesh and Kenya. That same year, it hosted its first Test match during Australia’s tour of Bangladesh. The journey concluded with another match between Bangladesh and India on April 28.
It did not get the chance to host any T20s of Bangladesh. In fact, as the waterlogging problem emerged, Fatullah has not seen any international cricket since 2015.
The venue has been losing proper care as no international games are held there and it will lose its efficacy entirely if this condition prevails.
Locals said that the main site on which the stadium was built used to be a water body, and in fact the entire area had been a low-lying area with no houses, residences or business establishments adjacent to it.
But a number of new establishments were built around the stadium which pushed the land of the stadium to an even lower level compared to other places. The canal that was supposed to drain out unnecessary water from the stadium is now performing the opposite duty and causing water stagnation there.
Locals demanded immediate removal of the waste and water from the stadium and remedial measures to ensure Narayanganj can regularly start hosting international matches again.
Tanvir Ahmed Titu, General Secretary of district Sports Association, said: “We know about the critical condition of the stadium but we’ve nothing to do about it as it is the duty of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to take care of the stadium.”
Venue Manager Md Bablu Mia said a development project of the stadium is underway and BCB is supervising it.
A group of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) engineers have been working to figure out how the stadium can be sustainably renovated and work will begin after the Buet team submits their plan shortly, he added.
Abdul Baten, Manager of Ground and Facilities department of BCB, said they were working to develop the facilities of the main and outer stadium.
The ground level of the stadium is much lower than adjacent area which is causing the persistent waterlogging after rain, he said.unb