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Galle Stadium: Minister to discuss with UNESCO before making decision

Sports Minister Faiszer Musthapha is to discuss the fate of the Galle Cricket Stadium with UNESCO officials before taking a final decision on the matter this week, a spokesman from the Ministry said yesterday.

In all probability the Galle Cricket Stadium will remain as it is after
removing the offending infrastructure about which the UNESCO has raised concern, the official explained.

The Cabinet had taken up the issue yesterday and entrusted Minister Musthapha with the task of discussing the matter with the UNESCO in a bid to resolve the issue without affecting the interests of all stake holders, the spokesman said.

“Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has obtained the necessary permission from all relevant parties before constructing the new structure in 2007 after the 2004 tsunami destroyed most of the stadium,” the spokesman said.

The Urban Development Authority (UDA) has given approval to the SLC to construct a new stadium on March 2, 2007. Approvals were also sought and received from the Department of Archaeology, the Galle Municipality, UNESCO (under certain conditions) and the Galle Heritage Foundation to construct the stadium. It was also revealed that the structure in question ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium’ is built at the same height as the newly constructed Galle Bus Stand.

The spokesman said Minister Musthapha will hear arguments from all the parties involved in the controversy before taking a final decision. He will assess the concerns raised by UNESCO, the SLC, Galle Municipality and more importantly the public and cricket lovers in Galle before making his decision. (Sandun A Jayasekera)